ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - If the head coach of the St. John's IceCaps is right, his team is making every goaltender they face look like an all-star.
The IceCaps' offence failed against Connecticut as Whale goalie Cameron Talbot made 37 saves in a 4-1 win over St. John's in American Hockey League action Saturday.
"You play against other goaltenders, and when I watch other goalies they look like they are the goaltenders of the month for the league right now with the way they are playing against us," said IceCaps coach Keith McCambridge.
Kelsey Tessier, Michael Haley and Mike Vernace each scored in the first period for Connecticut (21-21-6), while Christian Thomas scored into an empty net.
Carl Klingberg replied for the IceCaps (21-25-3), while Eddie Pasquale stopped 16 shots.
St. John's defenceman Travis Ramsey said the team knows how important every game is for them right now.
"We realize how many games are left in the season, and we can't wait until the last 10 or so games to turn it on," said Ramsey. "We need to treat every game like it's a playoff game or we won't be there. Each game is crucial, and we know that."
McCambridge was pleased with the way his team came out of the gate. The IceCaps hemmed the Whale in early, but a few defensive meltdowns led to Connecticut getting on the board first.
"We have a miscue in our own zone and they score on their first shot of the game. A couple shifts later, we have a breakdown and they score on their second shot of the game. That's frustrating, but I did like the energy we started with," said McCambridge.
The Whale scored three goals on their first five shots, with Tessier scoring Connecticut's first goal at 5:07.
Haley scored the second goal of the game at 6:32 off another Thomas assist after he was found unmarked in the slot.
McCambridge said the team keeps fizzling after solid starts.
"It's just frustrating. Every time that you want to get a good start, we realize how important these games are, but the same things flare up again."
The IceCaps did manage to get back into the game midway through the first when Klingberg scored at 9:41.
However, the Whale ended the period with their third goal at 12:30 when Vernace parked himself on the back post and finished off a beautiful cross-crease pass.
An empty-net goal by Thomas sealed the game at 17:46.
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