IceCaps Fall Short in Season Opener
On the AHL's opening night, the St. John's IceCaps fell 2-1 in overtime to the Providence Bruins Friday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI.
Despite the best efforts of rookie netminder Connor Hellebuyck, who made 27 saves in relief of starter Peter Budaj, the IceCaps dropped their first game of the 2014-15 season to their division rivals. Will O'Neill (unassisted) scored the lone goal for St. John's.
Seth Griffith scored in regulation for Providence while Joe Morrow notched the game-winner 56 seconds into overtime. Malcolm Subban made 28 saves in the win.
The IceCaps and goaltender Budaj received a scare just eight minutes into the first period when the netminder appeared to suffer a cut to his head. Budaj left for the dressing room and was replaced by Hellebuyck for his first pro appearance.
Less than a minute later, O'Neill notched the first goal of the 2014-15 AHL season. Flying in off the left side after exiting the penalty box, O'Neill kept on the two-on-one rush and ripped a shot high past Subban for a 1-0 lead.
Providence tied things up early in the second on a goal by Griffith. David Pastrnak centred the puck to Griffith, who beat Hellebuyck to make it a 1-1 game.
With the goalies doing their jobs to perfection for the rest of regulation, the IceCaps and Bruins became the first teams to go to overtime in the new season.
Just 56 seconds into the extra frame, it was the Bruins' Morrow who ended it. The Providence blueliner pounced on a puck in the slot and buried it past Hellebuyck to send the home team away victorious.
The IceCaps resume play Saturday night for the first of two games this weekend against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena (8:30 p.m. NT). Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM and www.ahllive.com. Pregame show begins at 8:00.
Notes: Not dressed for St. John's: Kris Fredheim, Chase Balisy, Brandon MacLean, Ben Walker, Jordan Hill, Jussi Olkinuora... Several players made their IceCaps debuts, including Keaton Ellerby, Ryan Olsen, Scott Kosmachuk, Nicolas Blanchard, Patrick Holland, Julien Brouillette, Peter Budaj and Connor Hellebuyck... In addition to Peter Budaj, Jason Jaffray also left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Budaj, however, later returned to the IceCaps bench... The IceCaps fell to 1-3 in season openers and 1-2 versus the Bruins... St. John's has lost a season-opening game to Providence in overtime two years in a row. Last season, the Bruins defeated the IceCaps 4-3 at Mile One Centre on October 4th... Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Joe Morrow 2. Will O'Neill 3. Seth Griffith... Mary Brown's Hardest Working Player: Connor Hellebuyck.
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