ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland – Mark Dekanich made 30 saves, 16 in the third period, and Raymond Sawada got the winner with less than eight minutes left as the St. John’s IceCaps held off the Portland Pirates 3-2 Tuesday night at the One Mile Centre.
Portland failed to gain any of the seven points it needs to clinch a playoff spot. With 81 points, the Pirates remain in sixth place, three ahead of Connecticut and three behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL’s Eastern Conference.
The Pirates held a 9-4 advantage in shots in the first period, but it was the IceCaps that emerged with a 1-0 lead on a goal by Cody Sol with just under 12 minutes left.
Josh Lunden converted a power play 1:04 into the second period to put St. John’s ahead 2-0.
Phil Lane scored for Portland at 11:18 of the second before Brendan Shinnimin tied it midway through the third.
Former UMaine defenseman Will O’Neill had three shots for St. John’s.
Mark Visentin made 20 saves for Portland.
The Pirates, who are 4-3 against the IceCaps, will try to take the season series when the teams play again at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Earlier Tuesday, NHL parent Phoenix assigned high-scoring Swedish defenseman David Rundblad to the Pirates for the fourth time this season.
Rundblad, 22, will rejoin the Pirates Wednesday in Newfoundland.
Rundblad, who spent the past week with the Coyotes, has one assist in eight games with Phoenix.
In 44 games with the Pirates, he has eight goals and 26 assists to lead Portland’s defensemen in scoring.