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IceCaps clinch Atlantic Division title

Monday, 02.04.2012 / 9:52 AM / St. John's IceCaps
St. John's IceCaps
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IceCaps clinch Atlantic Division title

It took a few tries, but the St. John’s IceCaps finally clinched a playoff spot and the Atlantic Division crown with a solid 3-2 victory over the Hershey Bears Saturday night at the Giant Center.<\/p>

It took a few tries, but the St. John’s IceCaps finally clinched a playoff spot and the Atlantic Division crown with a solid 3-2 victory over the Hershey Bears Saturday night at the Giant Center.

Patrice Cormier potted two goals for St. John’s, including a shorthanded marker in the opening frame, to lead the club to its 40th win of the season and a guaranteed top-three seeding in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. The IceCaps become the first team since the 2002-03 Binghamton Senators to win a division title in its inaugural season.

Goaltender Chris Carrozzi, starting just his second AHL game and first with the IceCaps, was tremendous between the pipes, stopping 24-of-26 shots for his first career victory. Arturs Kulda also scored for the IceCaps, while Carl Klingberg picked up a pair of assists.

Hershey struck first at 12:36 of the opening frame on a nice redirection by Mike Carman. Sean Collins took a quick shot from the point that Carman deftly deflected past Carrozzi, who had no chance on the play.

St. John’s tied things up less than four minutes later while down a man. Cormier took a feed in the slot from Klingberg, and the Moncton native wired a shot high on Sabourin for his 16th of the season, tying the game at one.

The IceCaps pulled ahead midway through the second period on a breakaway goal by Kulda. As the defenceman stepped onto the ice following his tripping minor, he was fed by Zach Redmond and raced in alone, snapping a shot high on Sabourin’s blocker side for a 2-1 IceCaps lead.

St. John’s got its third goal of the game at 8:34 of the final frame when Cormier notched his second of the night and 17th of the season. Klingberg busted down the right wing and threaded a cross-ice pass to Cormier, who was barreling towards the net. The big centre shovelled the puck at on goal and it caromed off a Bears defender before ending up past Sabourin, giving the visitors a 3-1 lead.

The insurance goal proved to be huge for St. John’s, as Hershey scored with just 13 seconds left in regulation to narrow the gap to 3-2. The IceCaps couldn’t clear the defensive zone and Kyle Greentree pounced on the turnover, feeding a wide-open Ryan Potulny for his 28th of the season.

However, it was too little too late for the Bears. The IceCaps hung on for the much-deserved win, giving the team with plenty to celebrate as they head home Sunday to start their final home stand of the season. The team will have the next two days to try and rest up for the Portland Pirates, who visit Mile One Centre Tuesday and Wednesday.

Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 66 42 17 7 196 179 91
2 NSH 65 41 17 7 193 158 89
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 65 32 21 12 180 175 76
6 VAN 63 36 24 3 182 173 75
7 MIN 63 34 22 7 179 163 75
8 CGY 63 34 25 4 178 162 72
9 LAK 63 30 21 12 171 164 72
10 SJS 65 32 25 8 185 183 72
11 COL 64 28 25 11 170 183 67
12 DAL 64 28 26 10 199 212 66
13 ARI 64 20 37 7 139 218 47
14 EDM 64 18 36 10 145 213 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Ladd 65 22 30 13 52
B. Little 65 24 27 10 51
B. Wheeler 63 17 29 13 46
D. Byfuglien 65 15 27 6 42
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
M. Scheifele 65 10 26 2 36
M. Frolik 65 14 20 5 34
D. Stafford 59 11 17 -20 28
J. Tlusty 55 13 11 -19 24
E. Kane 37 10 12 -1 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Hutchinson 19 8 5 .918 2.34
O. Pavelec 13 13 7 .909 2.57
 
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