The St. John’s IceCaps continued their season-long seven-game road trip, with a stop in Syracuse sandwiched between two games in Binghamton against the Senators.
WEEK IN REVIEW:
Tuesday, the IceCaps got their first taste of newly acquired 6-foot-7 Senators goaltender Ben Bishop, and it was not pretty. Bishop stopped a whopping 41 shots in a 5-1 Senators win, sending the IceCaps to their second straight defeat. St. John’s dominated the opening 20 minutes, firing 18 shots on Bishop (to just nine for Binghamton) and exited the period tied at one. Despite a poor second frame, the IceCaps trailed just 2-1 heading into the third period and looked to be in good shape. However, the team came out of the dressing room flat and surrendered a goal to Corey Locke 3:38 into the stanza that gave the home team a two-goal advantage. Pat Cannone added a power play marker at 13:51 to put Binghamton up 4-1, a deficit too large for the IceCaps to overcome. Derek Grant’s late goal was the final nail in the coffin.
Saturday, March 3 – Syracuse Crunch 6 St. John’s IceCaps 4
Saturday, the IceCaps visited the Syracuse Crunch for the first time this season and looked to have things under control after two periods of play. The teams traded goals in the opening frame, with Spencer Machacek opening the scoring just 1:24 into the game on a sneaky wraparound play. After Luca Caputi tied the game at the 7:09 mark, Jason DeSantis blasted home a point shot for a power play goal at 12:57. Dan Sexton evened the score once again, knotting the game at two after 20 minutes. The IceCaps got back to work on the power play in the middle frame, receiving goals from Jason King and Ben Maxwell to put the visitors up 4-2 with one period left to play. Like Tuesday night in Binghamton, however, St. John’s had trouble in the final stanza. Sexton scored a pair of goals to notch the hat-trick and Kyle Palmieri potted his league-leading 32nd of the season with 2:40 left in regulation to put the Crunch on top for good. Brandon McMillan’s empty-net goal with 1:14 remaining sent the IceCaps packing with a 6-4 defeat, their third in a row.
Sunday, March 4 – St. John’s IceCaps 5 Binghamton Senators 2
Looking to avenge their loss earlier in the week, the IceCaps returned to Binghamton with a similar mindset of throwing everything could at Senators goalie Ben Bishop. This time, it worked. After a scoreless first period, the IceCaps and Senators traded goals in a second period that saw St. John’s fire 21 shots at the Binghamton net. John Albert picked up his fifth of the season on a nifty backhand move after receiving a perfect pass from Machacek, and just 1:14 later Aaron Gagnon scored with the man advantage to give the IceCaps a temporary 2-1 lead. Corey Locke would tie the score at two minutes later, sending the teams to the dressing room with the score even at two. Unlike Tuesday, it was the IceCaps who came out strong in the final frame. An early 5-on-3 advantage led to a blistering Paul Postma one-timer that found the twine for his 12th of the season, and Patrice Cormier added his 11th just 58 seconds later when he barged in front of the net and tucked a shot underneath the crossbar to give the IceCaps a 4-2 lead. The visitors did not look back, going on to win 5-2 with the help of a short-handed empty-net goal by captain Jason Jaffray.
This week, the IceCaps wrap up their seven-game road trip with their first of two visits this season to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Tuesday night. The IceCaps were swept by the Penguins during a two-game series at Mile One Centre back in January.
The club then returns home for a two-game series versus the Hershey Bears Friday and Saturday at Mile One. The two teams will meet four times this month, including a pair of games in Hershey to close out the season series.
- Clear Day: March 5 is Clear Day for all AHL teams. As per AHL by-laws, only those players listed on a team's Clear Day roster are eligible to compete in the remainder of the AHL regular season and in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs, unless emergency conditions arise as a result of recall, injury or suspension. Teams may also add signed junior players or players on amateur tryout contracts after their respective junior or college seasons are complete. Check www.theahl.com Tuesday, March 6 for complete Clear Day rosters.
- Movin’ & Shakin’: Despite the passing of last week’s NHL trade deadline, AHL clubs were permitted to make moves to help fill holes and strengthen their rosters. The IceCaps completed two transactions Friday, sending F Shawn Weller and F Michael Forney (on loan) to the Texas Stars for F Ray Sawada, and loaning F Kenndal McArdle and G Peter Mannino to Portland for C Brock Trotter. Sawada made his debut Sunday in Binghamton and skated on a line with Maxime Macenauer and Garth Murray.
- Maximum Power: After struggling for three games, the IceCaps’ power play got back on track in a big way this weekend, going a combined 6-for-11 in Binghamton and Syracuse. The unit ranks third overall in the AHL at 21.4% efficiency.
- Keep Shooting: Since registering just 19 shots in a 3-2 shootout loss against Hamilton on Feb. 24, the IceCaps have topped the 40 shot mark in three straight games. St. John’s has outshot the opposition in 39 of its 56 games this season, going 25-10-4-0 in those contests.
- Iron Man: D Travis Ramsey is the only IceCaps player to appear in all 56 games this season. Spencer Machacek, Kevin Clark and Zach Redmond have all played in 53 contests.