Meech’s Late Goal Pushes IceCaps Over Hershey

The St. John’s IceCaps defeated the Hershey Bears 2-1 Saturday night at Giant Center, with a third period goal proving to be the difference. St. John’s defenseman Derek Meech tallied the winning goal in third, ripping a shot from the point on the power play. IceCaps goalie Mark Dakanich earned the win in net, stopping 18 of the 19 shots he faced. Dany Sabourin kept Hershey in the game, fending off 25 of the 27 IceCaps shots on goal. Barry Almeida tallied the lone goal for the Bears.

“The compete level wasn’t very good”, Bears coach Mark French said of his team’s effort postgame.

Dany Sabourin played strong in net, giving Hershey a chance at victory. “Dany was very good”, French said. “Unfortunately he didn’t get a good enough effort in front of him.”

Both teams had their scoring chances in the first period, but neither team could find the back of the net. Both teams earned a power play apiece and St. John’s outshot the Bears 10-8.

The IceCaps took a 1-0 advantage in the second period, converting on a scoring chance 5:19 into the period. St. John’s forward, Eric O’Dell potted his fourth goal of the season, banking home a rebound following a shot from the point. Carl Klingberg and Derek Meech recorded the assists on O’Dell’s goal.

Although Hershey struggled to stabilize puck possession and offensive zone, they knotted the game at one near the end of the second period.  Bears forward, Barry Almeida converted a pass from Matt Pope past IceCaps goalie Mark Dekanich to record his second goal of the season. St. John’s outshot the Bears once again in the second period, recording nine shots to Hershey’s five. Dany Sabourin continued the Bears strong play in goal, stopping 18 of 19 shots on goal through two periods.

The IceCaps would capitalize in the third, taking a 2-1 lead on a power play goal. Derek Meech blasted home a shot from the point, following a pass from forward, John Albert.

“It was a great play by Johnny Albert,” Meech said of his power play marker. “He came down the wall there and I just yelled out to him I was there and he made a good pass to me. Their guy came out on me and I just got it by and I was lucky enough to get it in off the post.”

Hershey fended off Matt Pope’s four minute high sticking penalty in the early part of the penalty kill, but couldn’t fend off the IceCaps rush on the power play. “You keep thinking in the back of your mind that might be all night we’re looking for a catalyst. You were hoping that sometimes off a four minute kill it can liven things up and you get to that 25 seconds, unfortunately what was a good kill turned into the difference maker in the game”, French said.

“Anytime you going through any bit of a tough go you wanna get out there and prove you can play well and get two points”, Meech said of picking up a win at the end of a grueling road trip.

IceCaps defenseman, Dean Arsene returned to Giant Center, this time wearing an opponent’s uniform.

“It’s like a second home to me,”Arsene said. “To be able to come back and see a lot of familiar faces and play in a building where I spent a lot of time is always a fun thing to do.”

Hershey takes on the Portland Pirates at Giant Center Sunday night.

Game Notes:

1. Attendance: 8,726

2. Hershey forward, Stanislav Gailev was scratched for the second straight game

3. Ryan Potulny and Dmitry Orlov were both injury scratches

Three Stars:

1. Raymond Sawada (one assist, two shots on goal)

2. Derek Meech (1 goal, one assist, three shots on goal)

3. Barry Almeida (1 goal, plus one, three shots on goal)

You can follow Matthew on twitter @m_speck and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.

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