IceCaps extend winning streak to 9 with Portland defeat

JC Lipon scored the first and last goal of a four-goal flurry to propel the St. John's IceCaps to a 5-1 win over the Portland Pirates Wednesday night in AHL action.
JC Lipon scored two goals against the Portland Pirates on Wednesday night at Mile One Centre. (St. John's IceCaps)

The number that defined the game was 5:19. The IceCaps opened the scoring at 5:19 of the second period, and proceeded to score four goals within 5:19 of play following that opener.

JC Lipon scored the first and last goal of that four-goal flurry to propel the St. John's IceCaps to a 5-1 win over the Portland Pirates Wednesday night in American Hockey League action.

"In the second we had that good, strong push and we were able to get those consecutive goals," IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge said.

"In the third period, we laid off the gas a bit to start and gave them a chance to get on the scoreboard. You have to make sure when you have consecutive wins like that (IceCaps have won nine straight), the details in your game can't slip. There is no exception."

McCambridge pointed to the work of two players in particular for St. John's success on Wednesday night.

"JC Lipon had a really good game," McCambridge said. "We've been waiting for that breakout game with him for awhile now. I'm happy to see him get rewarded. And, (goalie) Michael Hutchinson, as he has been all along, was really strong on our backend."

The goals ended a 24-game drought for Lipon, and the winger was ecstatic.

"It feels good," Lipon said. "I've been struggling to find the offensive side (of my game). I'm beating myself up, but tonight I went in not worrying about it and got one. With the second one, I pictured it on the draw, 'I'm going to get this and shoot it,' and it went in so I'm pretty excited."

Lipon said his teammates knew how frustrated he had been with his lack of goal production.

"I was really excited for that one, I think I blacked out during my celebration," he joked. "It was pretty good and all the boys are really excited for me because they knew I wanted one really bad."

Jerome Samson, Jason Jaffray and Andrew Gordon also scored for the IceCaps (37-19-4).

Mathieu Brodeur replied for the Pirates (21-29-10).

St. John's opened the scoring when Gordon threw the puck out front while tangled up in the boards, and it found its way into the net off a skate 5:19 into the second period.

Adam Lowry passed to Lipon on a 2-on-1 rush, and the IceCaps forward made no mistake, burying the puck top glove on a hard wrist shot 6:54 into the second period.

Samson added another for St. John's, on the power play, backhanding home the puck short-side after grabbing it off an end-board bounce out front at the 9:48 mark of the third period.

The IceCaps extended the lead at the 10:38 mark of the second period when Lowry won the draw clean to Lipon, who fired a quick one-time wrist shot.

Just 34 seconds into the third, Portland found the scoresheet when trailing defenceman Mathieu Brodeur wired a shot from just inside the left face-off circle to beat a sprawling Michael Hutchinson high blocker.

IceCaps forward Patrice Cormier sent a cross-crease feed across to Jaffray, who was wide-open on his way to the net. Jaffray scored high on a backhand 8:43 into the third period on the power play.

Hutchinson made 27 saves for the IceCaps. Mark Visentin stopped 32.