TORONTO - A late waved-off goal helped the St. John's IceCaps end the year on a winning note.
St. John's continued its dominance on the road after a 4-3 shootout victory over the Toronto Marlies in American Hockey League action Saturday afternoon.
Toronto appeared to have the game in hand with less than five minutes to play when Jerry D'Amigo backhanded a rebound past David Aebischer.
But the goal was waved off because Marlies forward Tyler Brenner had barrelled into the Swiss netminder prior to the puck going in after being tripped by IceCaps centre Eric O'Dell.
"Our goaltender was unable to get up and make that save on that play," said IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge. "You're never sure which way those are going to go, but when you see it on the replay and watch it again on tape, it was the right call."
Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins saw the play much differently.
"We're still trying to figure it out," he said. "It's an interesting dilemma. Our guy is in, he's about to get a chance, he's tripped, it's caused by their player, he ends up in the net and we put it in.
"This was caused by their player ... And after that, I don't understand why there's no penalty shot and the goalie gets four free punches at our guy's head in front of the net. It was just a domino of errors."
The IceCaps went on to score three times in the shootout after Paul Postma, Carl Klingberg and all Arturs Kulda scored in regulation. Jason Jaffray added two assists and Aebischer made 30 saves for the win.
The Marlies replied with a pair of goals from captain Ryan Hamilton and another by Will Acton. Ben Scrivens stopped 25 shots in defeat.
The win means St. John's has yet to lose in regulation on the road with a record of 12-0-3 away from Newfoundland.
"It's the character — this team has a lot of character," McCambridge said. "We have a lot of older guys that lead really well and a younger group that competes hard and they just have the work ethic and character to win on the road.
"We make high percentage plays and have success in other team's buildings ... It's just a team that's well balanced and is able to get the job done on the road."
It was the fourth game between the two clubs and the road team has won all four contests — two for the Marlies on the road and two now for the IceCaps in Toronto with a fifth game set for New Year's Day.
"It was physical game," McCambridge said. "I thought Toronto played really hard. You could tell they were a team that was playing with some urgency. We battled hard in the physical side of things and stuck with the game plan to get the two points."
The teams exchanged a pair of goals each in a penalty-filled opening period.
Acton opened the scoring for Toronto (16-12-5) at 3:53, but Postma and Klingberg answered right back for St. John's with two goals after the Marlies got themselves into penalty trouble.
Hamilton evened the score with his first of the night, a power-play goal at 17:19.
Kulda had the only goal of the second to make it a 3-2 game for St. John's. But Hamilton got his second of game early in the third period to tie the game.
Toronto went 2 for 7 on the power play, while St. John's was 1 for 6.