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IceCaps sputter in second period, lose 3-2 to Penguins in Game 1 of series

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The second period was costly for the St. John's IceCaps on Saturday.

Peter Mannino made 31 saves and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got goals from three different skaters as the Penguins edged the St. John's IceCaps 3-2 in Game 1 of the American Hockey League Eastern Conference final.

"We only had four or five shots in the second period and that's not enough," said IceCaps forward Andrew Gordon. "We need more zone time and offensive opportunities, (especially) second chance opportunities. We didn't create that in the second period. We were a little too easy to play against and not physical enough."

Gordon had a pair of goals for St. John's, while Michael Hutchinson stopped 29 shots.

Chuck Kobasew, Conor Sheary and Tom Kostopoulos scored for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge said his team lost its focus, ultimately costing St. John's the game.

"We got off our game in the second period, we made mental errors and didn't have the intensity you need to have in the conference finals," said McCambridge. "At the end of the day, the second period hurt us."

No one was blaming Gordon for the loss. After the winger's two-goal effort on the night, coach McCambridge was left wishing the rest of the team had followed Gordon's example.

"You have to make sure that when you have opportunities you capitalize, and when you put pucks to the net, you are looking for second and third chances. Andrew Gordon did a really good job on that," McCambridge said. "When we had good chances in the second period, we got away from that. There's not a lot of space out there, (the Penguins) defend really well. "

The Penguins opened the scoring 7:02 into the game, when Kobasew finished off a 2-on-1 in front with an easy tap-in from a perfect Brian Gibbons' pass.

Gordon tied it for the IceCaps at 13:42 of the first period, pulling the puck out front from behind the net before sniping it top shelf on the blocker side.

Sheary put the Penguins ahead 2-1 when Hutchinson lost the puck on a wrist shot by the winger. Sheary continued to the net and tapped in his own rebound 2:32 into the second period.

Kostopoulos took a pass while entering the zone and scored a quick wrist shot high blocker with 5:24 left in the second period to put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton up by two goals.

With the teams playing 4-on-4, Gordon scored his second of the game, one-timing a face-off win from John Albert, to pull the IceCaps within one 5:31 into the third period.

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