Michael Hutchinson made 30 saves and saw five different teammates score goals, as the St. John’s IceCaps defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 5-0, in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre. With the win the IceCaps took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game Four scheduled for Thursday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Patrice Cormier opened his account for the postseason by tipping home a shot from Josh Morrissey at the Penguins crease during the IceCaps’ first power play of the night at 11:24 of the first period.
Jason Jaffray, who played five games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the 2003-04 season, made it a 2-0 lead less than two minutes later. Jaffray’s puck pursuit forced a Pens player to rim the puck behind the Wilkes-Barre net where Andrew Gordon intercepted the pass. The former Hershey Bear wheeled around the cage and found Jaffray in the slot for his third goal of the playoffs.
Another failed clear behind the Penguins net allowed Eric O’Dell to find the back of the net just 1:35 into the second period to make it a 3-0 game.
St. John’s took advantage of two minutes of five-on-three time to make it a 4-0 contest when Kael Mouillierat waited for Peter Mannino to go to the ice, then whipped a wrister into the upper reaches of the goal for his third of the campaign.
A late faceoff in the Penguins zone allowed Zach Redmond to get a shot off from the slot that Mannino couldn’t handle, and the puck trickled over the goal line with 0.1 seconds left in the frame to finish off the scoring.
Rookie Matt Murray relieved Mannino to start the third period, and made eight saves in his Calder Cup playoff debut.
Tickets for Game Four (Thursday) and Game Five (Saturday) at the Mohegan Sun Arena are on sale now and available at the arena box office or by calling the Penguins at 570-208-7637. Once again, the first 500 kids ages 14 and under can get into either game for free with a paid adult admission to that same game.
NOTES: Tom Kuhnhackl also made his AHL playoff debut in the contest…..the Penguins have now lost back-to-back games in the postseason for the first time this playoff year.
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