As the old adage goes, “All good things must come to an end.” Saturday night this held true for the St. John’s IceCaps as the team was officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 3-0 loss to the Wilkes-Barrie/Scranton Penguins.
For IceCaps fans this was a huge disappointment as the team won the Atlantic Division Championship last year in their inaugural season in St. John’s after relocating as the Manitoba Moose.
The IceCaps looked to get out to a quick start to start the period as they outshot the Penguins 6-2 in the first, but it was Pens' forward Dominik Uher who spoiled things for the home fans at 17:51 of the first period for the 1-0 lead even though it was only the second shot of the game for the Penguins.
The club from St. John’s looked absolutely flat to start the second period as Uher made the team pay once again by tipping a shot from Brian Dumoulin past IceCaps goaltender Mark Dekanich for the 2-0 lead. Then, just over two minutes later the IceCaps got caught in the offensive zone as Paul Thompson broke in alone on Dekanich and buried the puck for a 3-0 lead.
The Penguins fired 12 shots on goal in the period while St. John’s appeared dead as the team only managed four. The Penguins headed to the dressing room up 3-0 after 40-minutes of play.
Frustration mounted in the third period for the IceCaps as fans were treated to a fight just 18 seconds into the third period as IceCaps Mathieu Tousignant tangled with Zach Sill of the Penguins. Just over 10 minutes later, Cody Sol would drop the mitts for the IceCaps against Paul Thompson of the Penguins in a huge scrum to the left of Dekanich.
The IceCaps failed to generate any sort of offence as the team to the frustration of many fans did not shoot the puck enough. Penguins’ goaltender Jeff Zatkoff only needed 18 saves for the shutout. Indeed a poor effort from the IceCaps on the night, yet it was a fitting way to end the season after much disappointment all year.
With the win, the Penguins clinched a playoff spot, while the St. John’s – Manitoba franchise will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season. The two clubs will face off again Sunday afternoon in St. John’s as the IceCaps play the final home game of the season for fans at Mile One Centre.