ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Kael Mouillierat didn't like what he saw in his first appearance for the St. John's IceCaps since sustaining an injury in early March.
After a three-goal third period from the Hartford Wolf Pack — including two goals from J.T. Miller — St. John's fell 7-2 on Saturday, leaving the IceCaps unhappy with his team's effort.
"From top to bottom, I don't think we had enough guys that showed up to play tonight," Mouillierat said. "We can't just turn it on for the playoffs, it has to be every night. Every game matters."
Rookie goalie Eric Comrie allowed seven goals on 30 shots, but Mouillierat said the loss was on the shoulders of the team.
"It's not his fault," he said. "We played like crap in front of him. We left him out to dry."
Justin Vaive, Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, Marek Hrivik and Nick Latta also scored for the Wolf Pack (35-31-7).
Austen Brassard and Jerome Samson answered for the IceCaps (43-23-7).
Mouillierat, who had seven penalty minutes and zero points in his return to the ice, said he felt fine.
"Once I got my legs under me, I felt a little better," Mouillierat said. "That is too be expected when you're out for that amount of time. Hopefully I can feel better by the time playoffs roll around here."
St. John's head coach Keith McCambridge said Hartford was the better team on the night.
"Hartford is playing some real strong hockey," McCambridge said. "That's their seventh win in a row, and (our team) not being at the level we need to be at tonight. I liked our start but other than that I didn't like our execution.
"On home ice, or on the road, to have seven goals against, that's not the level we need to be at."
Brenden Kichton put a shot off the post and Brassard finished it into a wide-open net to open the scoring for the IceCaps 1:39 into the game.
Hartford tied it up when Vaive capitalized on a scramble in front, scoring a tap-in 3:30 into the first period.
Kristo put the Wolf Pack ahead 2-1 with a toe-drag move to a wrist shot, beating St. John's IceCaps rookie goalie Eric Comrie high blocker from the left faceoff dot at the 7:21 mark of the first period.
While shorthanded at the 6:24 mark of the second period, Lindberg pivoted toward the net and fired a shot high glove in the slot, making it 3-1 Hartford.
Samson pulled the IceCaps within one with a one-time slapshot from right of the slot at the 7:09 mark of the second period.
Hrivik got on the board for Hartford when he one-timed a slapshot off a perfectly-set pass in the slot with 1:34 left in the second period.
Miller buried a shot from the slot on the power play at the 9:18 mark of the third period for Hartford, off a Kichton turnover. Miller added another, redirecting a shot high over Comrie with 7:01 left in the game to make it 6-2.
Latta finished off a 2-on-1 rush for Hartford with 30 seconds left.
Comrie made 23 saves for the IceCaps. Hartford goalie David LeNeveu stopped 31 shots.