ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland – Dave King is well into his fourth decade of coaching hockey, but before Tuesday, had never coached an American Hockey League game.
King, who was filling in for Ray Edwards, lost his debut 5-1 to the St. John’s IceCaps before a full house of 6,247 at Mile One Centre. The Pirates have lost three straight and are 2-4-1.
Edwards left the team to attend his grandmother’s funeral.
St. John’s had 11 power plays, eight straight at one point. The IceCaps were 2 for 11 on the power play.
“It wasn’t the introduction I was looking for, but it’s fun to be here and work with the kids,” said King, normally the pro development coach for the parent Phoenix Coyotes.
“It was good to get behind the bench and see them in action.”
And although players, coaches media and fans were trying to remember if they saw a team forced to kill eight straight penalties – “In 20 years of hockey, I’ve never seen it,” said Pirates assistant coach John Slaney – King wasn’t ready to rail against the refs.
“All the penalties certainly took away from our rhythm and flow, but I think a lot of them were pretty good calls,” King said.
“We’re going to sit down with the guys and show them the video and show them what went wrong with those calls. If we can get that rectified, I think we can give these guys a pretty good game five-on-five.”
King will also be looking for more from some of his veterans in tonight’s rematch.
“I thought too we had a number of guys not play their best tonight.
“On the upside, we saw some things from some kids, but this team has to come together better than they are right now. They have to dig in here and we have a good team to play against (tonight).”
The Pirates held a 1-0 lead on a first-period goal by Kyle Chipchura during a five-on-three power play.
The IceCaps finally beat goalie Curtis McElhinney four minutes into the second period when rookie John Albert notched his first pro goal, then took the lead for good 21⁄2 minutes later as Riley Holzapfel scored on a five-on-three power play, one of three the IceCaps had in the game. That goal ended a drought in which St. John’s hadn’t scored in 30 consecutive man-advantage opportunities.
The IceCaps got another second-period power-play goal by former Pirate Jason King, and defensemen Brett Festerling and Travis Ramsey scored in the third period.
NOTES: Pirates left wing Ryan Hollweg sat out his one-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of an opponent in Saturday’s game against Providence. … During a first-period timeout, a presentation highlighting the hockey highlights of Slaney, a St. John’s native, was featured on the video screens. “It was nice how they did it,” said Slaney, who retired over the summer after a 20-year career. “It makes a great memory for me. It was a proud moment for me and my family … Center Marc-Antoine Pouliot was back in the Portland lineup after missing five games with pneumonia … Forward Brock Trotter, acquired by Phoneix in a weekend trade with Montreal, played his first game for Portland.