The road continues to be kind to the St. John’s IceCaps this season.
A depleted IceCaps squad came away with a pair of victories this weekend in Hamilton and Toronto to improve their road record to an amazing 8-0-2-0 this season. Having lost Carl Klingberg
to recall and Riley Holzapfel to injury, St. John’s was forced to rely on key contributions from its depth players.
Friday night, the IceCaps received a solid effort from goaltender David Aebischer, who turned aside all 21 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season, a 4-0 blanking of the Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum. Spencer Machacek
potted two goals for the IceCaps, his second straight two-goal performance, while Marco Rosa picked up two assists on the night. Jake Marto, recalled from the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL several weeks ago to fill in on the blueline, also notched two assists and was a plus-two. Eric O’Dell and Shayne Wiebe, playing in place of the aforementioned Klingberg and Holzapfel, both played strong games. O’Dell scored his third goal of the season on a brilliantly placed shot over the glove hand of Bulldogs goalie Nathan Lawson, while Wiebe assisted on Machacek’s second goal and finished plus-two on the night playing alongside Rosa and Machacek on the team’s top line. St. John’s outshot Hamilton 39-21 and shut down all six of the Bulldogs’ opportunities on the powerplay.
Sunday afternoon saw the IceCaps beat a tired Toronto Marlies squad playing their third game in as many days. Aebischer once again got the start and looked sharp, making 20 saves in the 4-2 win. After allowing a goal to Darryl Boyce just 56 seconds into the game, Aebischer settled down and was solid when called upon. Rosa paced the offensive attack with a goal and two assists, taking over the team scoring lead with 22 points in 22 games. Kenndal McArdle
picked up his first goal as an IceCap with 28 seconds left in the first period on the power play, giving St. John’s a boost heading into the dressing room. Jason King’s team-leading ninth of the year came with the man advantage at 13:52 of the second period to give the IceCaps the lead. The Marlies would tie it early in the third but John Albert
’s second goal of the season at 12:44 of the final frame would prove to be the game-winner. Rosa’s extra strength marker with less than a minute to go sealed the deal for St. John’s.
The IceCaps look to carry the good vibes back home when they host the Syracuse Crunch (Anaheim Ducks) Tuesday and Wednesday and division-rival Worcester Sharks (San Jose Sharks) Friday and Sunday at Mile One Centre.
The series with Syracuse marks the first meetings of the season between the two teams. The Crunch, fourth in the East Division with a 10-8-2-1 record (23 points), is coming off a 5-2 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Saturday night at home. Syracuse is lead by Patrick Maroon (team-high 21 points) and Kyle Palmieri, whose 13 goals are tied for second in the AHL.
The Sharks, meanwhile, took two-of-three games this weekend and recorded five of a possible six points after dropping Sunday’s game in Manchester 2-1 in a shootout. The IceCaps and Sharks have met twice this season, both resulting in road wins for St. John’s. Kevin Clark scored twice in a victory on Nov. 1 while Shawn Weller scored a pair and Eddie Pasquale stopped 30-of-31 shots en route to a 3-1 win on Nov. 5.
This week’s slate of games at Mile One concludes the home portion of the IceCaps schedule prior to the Christmas break. ICECAPS NOTES:
- Putting the ‘Special’ Back in Special Teams: The IceCaps’ special teams units had a terrific weekend on the road. The PP went a combined 4-for-12 (33%) while the penalty kill was perfect, going 10-for-10.
- Klingberg the Latest Jet-Setter: Rookie winger Carl Klingberg was the latest to get summoned to the big club when he was recalled last Wednesday. In 20 games with the IceCaps this season, Klingberg has recorded nine goals and seven assists for 16 points.
- Streaking: Marco Rosa has been on a tear of late, registering eight points (2g, 6a) during a current four-game point streak. Rosa’s 22 total points lead the team.
- Crowded Crease: With David Aebischer’s solid performance this weekend (2 W, 1.00 GAA, 0.953 sv%), the situation between the pipes is once again looking crowded. All three IceCaps’ goaltenders (Aebischer, Peter Mannino, and Eddie Pasquale) have at least four wins this season.
- Fantastic Four: Four has been the magic number this season. The IceCaps are 11-0-0-0 when scoring four goals or more and just 3-4-4-0 in all other contests.