The Saint John's IceCaps defeated the Portland Pirates 4-1 Saturday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center to split the weekend series. Josh Lunden's three point night helped the IceCaps rebound from a 5-2 loss Friday night, and gave St. John's their first win on Portland's home ice this season.
The Pirates offense picked up right where it left off Friday night. After mishandling a pass on a 2 on 1 chance, Nick Johnson banked a shot off the back of IceCaps' starter Mark Dekanich from behind the goal line to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Chris Conner and David Rundblad picked up assists on Johnson's first goal as a Pirate, which came only 1:29 into the game. Reigning CCM/AHL player of the week Eric O'Dell responded for the IceCaps at the 15:11 mark of the first. O'Dell's slap shot beat Pirates starter Mark Visentin, who was screened on the play. Despite the goal, Visentin made an impressive 18 saves in the first as the Pirates were outshot 19-6.
Tempers would flare up in the second period. Shortly after both teams failed to capitalize on the power play, Jordan Szwarz dropped the gloves and got the win in a heated bout with Maxime Macenauer at 7:11. The only scoring in the period came on an IceCaps' power play. Pirates captain Alexandre Bolduc was sent off for a roughing double minor at 9:32. Aaron Gagnon picked up a deflection in front and slipped it past a sprawling Visentin for the power play goal, his eighth of the season. Brendan Shinnimin tangled with former UMaine Black Bear Will O'Neill in front of the IceCaps net at 17:22, with O'Neill picking up an extra penalty for interference. The period ended with a penalty shot as Chris Summers was called for closing his hand on the puck while in the crease. Visentin kept it a 2-1 game, holding his pad to the left post to deny Macenauer's penalty shot attempt.
The Pirates would get the first power play 8:14 into the third. Ben Maxwell was sent off for interference. It was the IceCaps who made the most of the power play, however, as Macenauer would finish off a 2 on 1 with Jason Gregoire for the shorthanded goal and a 3-1 lead. The shorthanded goal was the 15th allowed by Portland the season, an AHL high. The Pirates hopes of a comeback would take a serious blow at 12:08 when Andy Miele received a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct for a check to the head of Jason Jaffray. The IceCaps scored once on the five minute power play, with Josh Lunden picking up his third point of the night on a rebound goal at 15:02 to seal the IceCaps victory.
St. John's improves to 26-33-1-4 on the year, with Mark Dekanich rebounding after taking the loss last night. The Pirates fall to 35-23-3-2, with Mark Visentin dropping to 12-10-3-2.
The Pirates get back to action tomorrow afternoon, traveling all the way to Glens Falls to face the Adirondack Phantoms. Puck drop is set for 3 PM from the Glens Falls Civic Center.