The St. John’s IceCaps gave their home fans a treat this week by sweeping a pair of series against the Providence Bruins and Binghamton Senators, claiming first place in the American Hockey League.
Buoyed by the freshly-minted Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Eddie Pasquale, the IceCaps reeled off four consecutive victories to improve their home record to 15-10-3-0, solidifying their perch atop both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.WEEK IN REVIEW:Tuesday, February 7 – St. John’s IceCaps 2 Providence Bruins 0
The IceCaps didn’t have much time to rest after a tough series with the Worcester Sharks last weekend, but the team received a great effort from Pasquale and just enough offence to beat the Bruins 2-0. Pasquale turned aside all 29 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season, and second in his last three starts. Paul Postma
’s second period goal stood as the game-winner, while Travis Ramsey added an insurance marker in the final frame to seal the victory.Wednesday, February 8 – St. John’s IceCaps 2 Providence Bruins 1 (OT)
Wednesday’s contest was yet another low-scoring affair. Shawn Weller got the home team on the board first less than six minutes into the game on a nice deflection on a power play, and the score stayed that way until midway through the third period when Josh Hennessey tied it for Providence. The IceCaps headed to overtime for the seventh time this season, looking for their first victory at home in the extra frame. At the 2:26 mark, Jason DeSantis answered the bell on another IceCaps power play, wiring a slap shot past Bruins’ netminder Michael Hutchinson for a 2-1 final and sending the capacity crowd at Mile One Centre home happy. Pasquale was terrific for a second straight night, this time making 36 saves to pick up his 12th win of the season.Saturday, February 11 – St. John’s IceCaps 4 Binghamton Senators 3
On Saturday, the IceCaps once again brought the dramatics, coming back from three different one-goal deficits to defeat the Binghamton Senators 4-3. After Eric O’Dell tied the game at three by knocking in a rebound at 9:49 of the third period, Jason King scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season with just 1:20 remaining in regulation time to give St. John’s its third straight win. Jason Jaffray
added a goal and an assist in his return to the lineup after missing the Providence series with a back injury while Spencer Machacek
scored his 12th goal of the season, his first since returning from Winnipeg a few days earlier. Pasquale wasn’t busy, facing just 21 shots, but he was solid enough to earn his sixth straight victory.Sunday, February 12 – St. John’s IceCaps 6 Binghamton Senators 3
Wrapping up the week with a Sunday matinee, the IceCaps dominated the Senators from start to finish and swept the visitors with a 6-3 triumph. Ben Maxwell
busted out with three points, including a pair of goals, while Jaffray netted two goals as well, his 14th and 15th tallies of the season. The IceCaps took advantage of a slew of Senators penalties in the first two periods, finishing the day three-for-six on the power play and also killing off five-of-six infractions. David Aebischer stopped 22 shots for his team-leading 14th victory of the season.
The IceCaps put their four-game winning streak on the line as they head out on the road to face the Hamilton Bulldogs and Toronto Marlies this weekend. Friday, the IceCaps invade Copps Coliseum for their fifth matchup this season versus the Bulldogs. St. John’s is 3-1 against Hamilton so far, including a 3-1 win on the road back on Dec. 28. Carl Klingberg
leads the IceCaps with four points (3g, 1a) in three games played while David Aebischer has posted a 2-1 record with a 0.940 save percentage and one shutout.
Saturday, the IceCaps renew hostilities with the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. St. John’s sports a 3-3-1-0 record versus Toronto thus far, including a split of a two-game series at Mile One in early January. Jason Jaffray
has recorded seven points (1g, 6a) in just four games against the Marlies this season.ICECAPS NOTES:
- Home Sweet Home: The IceCaps’ fortunes at home seem to have finally turned around. The club won four straight – and five-of-six overall – to finish up their recent homestand, improving their record at Mile One Centre to 15-10-3-0.
- Top Spot: With eight points this week, the IceCaps propelled themselves into first place overall in the AHL with 70 points, one point up on the Oklahoma City Barons.
- Keeping ’em out: G Eddie Pasquale set a team record this week for longest shutout streak. Pasquale went 129:54 without allowing a goal before surrendering a third-period tally in Wednesday’s game vs. Providence. David Aebishcer held the previous mark at 96:13, set back in early December.
- Making Moves: With the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline fast approaching, the Winnipeg Jets made a move Monday, obtaining F Maxime Macenauer from Anaheim for F Riley Holzapfel. Drafted in the third round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Macenauer has played in 29 games with the Ducks this season, collecting four points (1g, 3a) and 18 penalty minutes. The Laval, QC native has also recorded six points (4g, 2a) and 2 penalty minutes in 13 games with the Ducks AHL affiliate the Syracuse Crunch.
- Machacek, Gagnon return: The IceCaps received a boost to their forward unit when Spencer Machacek and Aaron Gagnon were returned from Winnipeg. Machacek leads the IceCaps in scoring with 36 points (12g, 24a) in 47 games, while Gagnon has recorded 20 points (8g, 20a) in 37 contests.