IceCaps lose in shootout, but Burmistrov shows off skill

- October 5th, 2012

STEPHENVILLE, Nfld. — A packed house was on hand at the Stephenville Dome to witness a game that delivered some highlight-reel moments as the Syracuse Crunch defeated the St. John’s IceCaps 3-2 in a shootout on Friday night.

The IceCaps got a first period power play goal from Hunter Tremblay (who buried a rebound after a heavy shot from the point by Zach Redmond) and a nifty even-strength marker from Carl Klingberg, who showed some nice finish and converted a nifty feed from Derek Whitmore, who had two assists in the contest.

“(Whitmore) was coming right out of the penalty box and he made a nice pass. I was basically just shooting for the net,” said Klingberg, who roofed his shot high to the blocker side.

Klingberg was the lone IceCap to beat Riku Helenius in the shootout and the Crunch managed to beat Eddie Pasquale three times, including a sweet move from Brett Connolly — who provided some razzle-dazzle on a move that Marty St. Louis probably taught him last season as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Connolly also showed off his NHL-calibre shot to get the Crunch on the board in the second period. Matt Taormina had the other goal for the Crunch.

Many of the eyes in this one were on flashy forward Alex Burmistrov, who made his IceCaps debut and played in an AHL for the first time after spending his first two seasons as a pro in the NHL.

Although he was kept off the scoreboard, Burmistrov didn’t disappoint.

The skill level was outstanding and he had several quality scoring chances in the contest, including a short-handed breakaway in the final minute that he simply couldn’t sneak past Helenius.

“I tried to go low blocker, that’s what I practice a lot but it didn’t work,” said Burmistrov, who also missed on his shootout attempt. “In the shootout, I had him, but I lost the puck. I checked my stick afterward and it was broken. It’s tough.”

Burmistrov was feeling a bit of frustration due to his inability to produce a goal, but it wasn’t for lack of effort.

In the first period, D-man Derek Meech hit Burmistrov with a slap-pass in the crease but the redirection went up and over the net.

Burmistrov said his legs were heavy in what was his first game action in roughly five months and he did take a pair of penalties, one for slashing and another for high-sticking. On that second minor, the Crunch scored the game-tying goal.

“The first one I just tried to get the puck from him and on the second one I passed the puck and just tried to get out of the way and the guy got my stick right in the face,” said Burmistrov, who clipped the Crunch D-man as he moved the puck to the right wing. “But it’s nice to play a game and get going, get ready for the season.”

I spoke with Burmistrov after the game and will have an in-depth piece on him in Sunday’s paper and at www.winnipegsun.com.

Be sure to check out my piece featuring Top-5 prospects on the farm and five others that are on the horizon, which includes my opinion, plus some important scouting reports from Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who was in Saskatoon on Friday as the Saskatoon Blades were thumped 10-1 by the Swift Current Broncos and shared his thoughts in a telephone interview in the afternoon.

Here are some other things that stood out about Friday’s game between the IceCaps and Crunch:

* Redmond had a steady game on the back end and was paired with Julian Melchiori. That duo looked good together.

* Winnipeggers Jason Gregoire and Kevin Clark played on a unit with veteran centre Aaron Gagnon and created plenty of chances of their own.

* Pasquale had a solid effort between the pipes for the IceCaps. Connolly whizzed a perfect shot high to the blocker side on the first goal and the second was a PP marker that came on a rebound and looked to be knocked out of the air.

* There’s a lot of depth on the back end and it looks like several quality players are going to have to go down to the ECHL until the NHL lockout comes to an end.

* Forward Ray Kaunisto went crashing into the boards after trying to nail a Crunch D-man with a big check. He left with an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated.

* Winger Norm Ezekial got into a tilt with Crunch tough guy Eric Neilson and showed plenty of heart but came away with a bloody nose. Ezekial is feisty and you can bet he’ll be heard from again.

* The third and final game of the Mary Brown’s Cup exhibition series goes Sunday afternoon in Clarenville and the IceCaps are expected to make their first cuts and trim down a roster that has been at 41.

Categories: Hockey

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