Asked after the St. John’s IceCaps’ 5-2 shellacking of the Portland Pirates what positives he could take from the game, Portland Coach Ray Edwards answered, “That it’s over?”

The Pirates followed up an inspiring 3-2 road win against the Springfield Falcons Saturday night with an uninspiring performance Sunday afternoon in an AHL game played before 3,636 at the Cross Insurance Arena.

“That’s as bad as we played,” Edwards said.

“I don’t want to take anything away from St. John’s. They’re a good team, (but) we weren’t good at all.”

It was the third game in as many days for the IceCaps, who are in the middle of a six-game, eight-day trip. They split two games against the Worcester Sharks to open the trip.

“(St. John’s) played a really smart, simple road game,” Edwards said. “(They) executed well, scored early, and we just got totally away from who we are.”


It was especially disappointing because the Pirates had earned points in five of their six previous games against the IceCaps this season.

“We underestimated the situation for some reason, and at this time of year you just can’t do that,” Edwards said. “We’ve had two really good games in a row, and, you know, sometimes we get a little content with how we play. We do this once in a while, and it’s disappointing at the timing of it. We need the points.”

The Pirates remain two points behind the Providence Bruins in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The IceCaps built a 4-0 lead in the first two periods.

Right wing JC Lipon opened the scoring 39 seconds in, deflecting in a blast from defenseman Julien Brouillette. The puck went in off the crossbar on goalie Louis Domingue’s stick-side for Lipon’s second goal of the season.

St. John’s added three goals in the second period.


Less than three minutes in, right wing Austin Brassard made it 2-0 on a bang-bang play. He redirected John Albert’s centering pass from the left corner past Domingue for his fifth goal.

With less than eight minutes left in the period, defenseman Justin Melchiori, playing in his 56th game of the season, put in a shot from the slot off a quick counter for his first goal of the season after the Pirates turned the puck over in the neutral zone.

After that goal, Edwards replaced Domingue with backup Mike Lee.

“We just weren’t playing well,” Edwards said. “You have only a few things you can use to motivate. I was just trying to wake our group up.”

The move didn’t make much of a difference.

In the final minute of the period, defenseman Will O’Neill turned the game into a rout when he scored his 10th goal on a shot from the top of the right circle 23 seconds after the start of a two-man advantage for St. John’s.


The Pirates tried to rally in the third period.

Less than two minutes in, Brendan Shinnimin, after weaving his way through heavy traffic, slid the puck under goalie Jussi Olkinuora’s pads for his 11th goal as Portland avoided getting shut out on home ice for the first time since Nov. 14 against Manchester.

With 9:38 remaining, right wing Jordan Szwarz made it 4-2 by jamming the puck into the right side. It was his eighth goal of the season and came on a power play, the Pirates’ fifth of the game.

Just 35 seconds later, the IceCaps regained the momentum when Scott Kosmachuk converted a three-on-two break with his 11th goal.

NOTES: Veteran center Alexandre Bolduc was in the Portland lineup for the second consecutive game after spending the first three weeks of February with the NHL parent Arizona Coyotes … St. John’s assistant coach Jason King scored 29 goals and had 30 assists while playing 65 games for the Pirates during the 2007-08 season … Shinnimin and center Justin Hodgman, who had an assist on the goal by Szwarz, extended their point streaks to three games.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.