This weekend saw the St. John’s IceCaps take on the Norfolk Admirals in a pair of physical, hard-fought games at Mile One Centre in St. John’s that resulted in the teams splitting the contests.
On Friday, the IceCaps were outplayed by a more physical Admirals team and the result was a 6-2 victory by the visitors. The teams played an even first period, leaving the ice tied at one, but the second period was dominated by Norfolk. Trevor Smith scored twice in the first five minutes of the period and captain Mike Angelidis notched his third of the season to give Norfolk a comfortable three-goal lead heading into the final frame. Carl Klingberg
’s highlight-reel shorthanded goal briefly gave the home fans some hope, but Tyler Johnson sealed the win for Norfolk with a pair of goals later in the period. The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the IceCaps, and also stopped a string of recording at least a point in eight straight contests.
Saturday, the IceCaps responded with a complete 60-minute effort, never once looking in trouble in a 3-1 win. Goaltender Peter Mannino
was the story for St. John’s, making multiple big stops down the stretch and stopping 35-of-36 shots for his second victory in a row. Riley Holzapfel and Spencer Machacek
scored first-period goals for the IceCaps, while Garth Murray registered his first goal of the season late in the third to propel St. John’s to its sixth home win of the season.
This coming weekend, the IceCaps wrap up their homestand with two games against the visiting Toronto Marlies. From 1991-2005, the Marlies were based in St. John’s as the St. John’s Maple Leafs, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The games on Friday and Saturday mark the first time the former Mile One and Memorial Stadium tenants return to St. John’s for a regular season AHL game. The Marlies have been playing solid hockey through their first 18 games, enjoying a record of 10-5-2-1 (23 points), good for first place in the Western Conference’s North Division. Centre Joe Colbourne, obtained from the Boston Bruins in the Tomas Kaberle trade last February, leads the team with 19 points (10g, 9a) in 13 games. The 6’5” pivot played Friday night in Rochester but was recalled by Toronto following the game and is not expected to be with the Marlies for the coming series.ICECAPS NOTES:
- Bound For Old St. John’s: LW Kenndal McArdle was reassigned to the IceCaps on Friday from Winnipeg and made his debut Saturday night but was not a factor on the scoresheet. In nine games with the Jets, McArdle recorded zero points with a minus three rating and four minutes in penalties.
- You da Man-nino!: With the win Saturday, goaltender Peter Mannino has now won two consecutive starts since being reassigned to St. John’s Nov. 11. During those starts, Mannino has allowed just four goals on 74 shots (0.946 save %) and has improved his season record to 4-2-0.
- The Postman Returns: Defenceman Paul Postma returned to the IceCaps lineup this weekend and had an immediate impact. Postma scored his third goal of the season in Friday’s loss and picked up an assist on Saturday in more than 30 minutes of ice time.
- Sniping Shorties: Despite a penalty kill that ranks 20th overall, the IceCaps have scored three shorthanded goals this season, tied for second in the AHL. Rookie Carl Klingberg has two: his goal Friday night came with his team down a man.
- Shutting the Door: St. John’s continues to play shutdown hockey in the game’s final frame. In 18 games this season, the IceCaps have allowed just 12 third period goals, while scoring 24.