(CP) — Eddie Pasquale says he has something to prove.
The St. John’s goaltender made a statement Tuesday — his 22nd birthday — with a 45-save performance in the IceCaps’ 3-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs in American Hockey League action.
Pasquale has been sharing the net with former AHL all-star Mark Dekanich after being the number-one goalie to end last season.
"I haven’t been playing my best hockey this year, and I haven’t played in a while, coach sat me down," said Pasquale. "It’s good to respond like this and get the few points tonight and a good game."
That came from Brendan Gallagher on the power play, the lone time the Bulldogs (5-7-1-1) beat a red-hot Pasquale.
Pasquale brought the crowd to its feet with a massive glove save just four minutes into the second period.
IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge said Pasquale has nothing to prove, because he and the rest of the coaching staff already know how good of a goalie he is.
"I thought (Pasquale) was real strong," said McCambridge. "No statement to me, I’ve seen Eddie Pasquale now for a year and a half. He was what we expected him to be and it’s good to see him get the win."
Pasquale knows he has to work hard for his starts and it’s his job to fight for ice time.
"You’re not going to be handed anything, especially in this league, with the lockout. Coach gave me a few starts earlier this season, I didn’t play well, now I need to earn it back," he said.
St. John’s went ahead by two goals in the second when Meech fired a power-play point shot into the net at 7:15.
The IceCaps had the fifth-worst power play percentage in the league coming into the game at 11.9 percent, but finished 2-for-7 on the night.
"Coming into the game we wanted to make sure that we were getting the first goal and building off that, but the fact that it was a power-play goal was a real step in the right direction for our special teams," said McCambridge. "Nice to see the power play execute tonight, and nice to see them get rewarded for it."
McCambridge says the poor power play has led to line juggling, which makes it difficult for the new lines to find chemistry right away.
"To be honest with you, the power play just wasn’t good," he said. "It’s been difficult, because when you go that long without having success, then obviously you have to change personnel."
One of these changes involved moving Burmistrov to the point, where he contributed two assists on the power play.
Hamilton brought the game within one in the third. Gallagher carried the puck to the net and then jammed home his own rebound at 2:26 to give the Bulldogs life.
Gregoire added some insurance for St. John’s at 12:29 when he jumped on a rebound off a tipped slapshot by Dean Arsene from the point.
Bulldogs head coach Sylvain Lefebvre said his team is the better team five-on-five, but the game did not give them the chance to show that.
"Obviously we have to play five-on-five, we were in the box way too much. We had a lot of shots, we need to capitalize on the chances we have," said Lefebvre, who added developing a young roster is an ongoing process.
"We’re not discouraged. Obviously we’d like to have wins, but we have to look at the big picture."