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IceCaps report – Jan. 12

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens have a new farm team this season, the St. John's IceCaps. To help Canadiens fans track the team's performance in the AHL, we have invited Charles Dart, website contributor of the IceCaps' official website to prepare a bi-weekly summary of the action in Newfoundland.


ST. JOHN’S – The new additions of Max Friberg and Lucas Lessio via trades, returning player Michaël Bournival, as well as the very ‘up-and-down’ evolution that is the American Hockey League, is proving to be a good test for both the players and coaching staff of the St. John’s IceCaps. The continually changing face of the IceCaps is showcasing the battles that head coach Sylvain Lefebvre has to face with an NHL farm team.

The IceCaps are 4-4-1-1 in their last 10 games dating back to December 12th. St. John’s dropped two straight to the Portland Pirates this past weekend as part of the second annual Eimskip Port-to-Port Challenge. Saturday night’s contest was a tussle on the ice in which the two teams combined for 66 penalty minutes. Frustration was evident late in the third period as things got heated between Charles Hudon and Pirates goaltender Mike McKenna.

“It’s a tough game from the start when you’re down 3-0,” Lefebvre said following Saturday night’s loss. “It’s tough to get back in, but I liked the fight in the players. I’m not talking about the real fighting, I’m talking about the fact that we didn’t quit.”

Lefebvre, who recorded his 100th career AHL coaching win earlier this season, was happy to see the players keep battling hard. The IceCaps were down 3-0 Friday night in the second period and 4-0 Saturday night through 40 minutes of play.

“We kept putting pressure on, and if [Mike] McKenna didn’t make some big saves, especially in the second period, the outcome of the game could have been different,” explained Lefebvre. “But having said that, we need to start the games better, especially here at home.”

The two losses this weekend were just the second and third regulation home losses of the season for St. John’s, who have an 8-3-4-1 record at Mile One Centre, and an 8-8-1-2 record on the road. The IceCaps sit third in the North Division.

Rookie netminder Zach Fucale has lost his last three starts, however he has made 31-plus stops in each of those games. In Saturday night’s loss, he replaced Eddie Pasquale and stopped 23 of 24 shots against. Lefebvre noted Fucale’s performance after the game as well.

“He [Fucale] played good. It was 1-1 after that, and in the third period it was 1-0 for us,” Lefebvre said. “The positive thing is we won the third period. The other positive thing is that we saw some good things from some players, and I know some players want to do better and want to bring more to the table. We’re going to reassess the games from the whole weekend, practice on Monday, and be ready to go Tuesday and Wednesday against Wilkes-Barre.”

The IceCaps continue their six-game home stand with a two-game series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT) on Tuesday and Wednesday night, followed by a set against their archrival and the AHL’s top-seeded team, the Toronto Marlies (TOR). Lefebvre and the IceCaps will then depart for a six-game road trip where they will face the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI), Albany Devils (NJ), Portland Pirates (FLA), and Hartford Wolf Pack (NYR).

Defenceman Mark Barberio and rookie forward Michael McCarron were named to the AHL All-Star team on January 7th. The All-Star game will take place on January 31st in Syracuse, New York.

Full team stats are available here.

Updated Depth Chart and Lineup
*denotes rookie, italics denotes not in last game’s lineup, **recalled since last game

Forward

LUCAS LESSIO

*MICHAEL MCCARRON

MAX FRIBERG

Michaël Bournival

Jacob de la Rose

GABRIEL DUMONT "C"

CHARLES HUDON

*MARKUS EISENSCHMID

BUD HOLLOWAY “A”

*JEREMY GRÉGOIRE

*MARK MACMILLAN

*BRANDON MCNALLY

*Nikita Scherbak

STEFAN FOURNIER

 CONNOR CRISP

Defensemen

JOEL HANLEY

*BRETT LERNOUT

MAC BENNETT

*DALTON THROWER

MORGAN ELLIS

DARREN DIETZ

*JOSIAH DIDIER

*RYAN JOHNSTON

Goaltenders

*Zachary Fucale

Eddie Pasquale







Charles Dart is a writer for the St. John’s IceCaps.
Twitter: @CharlesMDart
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