The IceCaps had just two games on the schedule this past week, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Monarchs in Manchester on Wednesday and rebounding with a 2-1 victory on Saturday against the Bears in Hershey. St. John’s concluded its five-game, 11-day road trip with a 2-3-0-0 record and returns home for a six-game home stand beginning Friday night against the Albany Devils.
WEEK IN REVIEW:
Wednesday, November 7 – Manchester Monarchs 4 St. John’s IceCaps 1
Special teams play was the story in Manchester Wednesday night, as the hometown Monarchs downed the struggling St. John’s IceCaps 4-1 in AHL action at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Brandon Kozun scored twice with the man advantage and Manchester scored three goals on the power play in getting the win. St. John’s couldn’t solve former teammate Peter Mannino in the Monarchs net until very late in the contest. Mannino stopped 25 of 26 shots in picking up the win in his first start of the season.
For St. John’s, it was another frustrating night, as the offence sputtered, going 0-6 with the man advantage, including a 5-on-3 in the second period. Alex Burmistrov scored the IceCaps only marker, redirecting a Paul Postma shot at 18:46 of the final frame. That goal kept St. John’s from being shut out for the third time in four games on this road trip.
Saturday, November 10 – St. John’s IceCaps 2 Hershey Bears 1
Derek Meech scored a power play goal in the third period to lift the St. John’s IceCaps to an important 2-1 win over the Hershey Bears Saturday night at the Giant Center.
Meech’s slapshot from the point, on a nice passing play with Ray Sawada and John Albert, gave the IceCaps the lead at 6:56 of the final period. Perhaps more importantly, from a psychological point of view, Meech’s goal came on the power play, breaking a 1-for-42 slump.
Mark Dekanich was not busy but was solid when called upon, making 18 saves on 19 shots to record his fourth win of the season. The loss snapped a two-game losing streak for St. John’s and sends the team back home with a 2-3-0-0 record on their five-game road trip. Dany Sabourin made 25 saves for Hershey in the loss.
- No Support: Neither Mark Dekanich nor Eddie Pasquale has received much offensive support thus far, but former All-Rookie Pasquale has especially fallen victim to the recent lack of firepower. The IceCaps have been shut out in Pasquale’s last four starts, dating back to a 4-0 blanking on Oct. 24 at the hands of the Portland Pirates.
- Snapping a Skid: St. John’s finally ended its power play drought with a third period tally in Saturday night’s 2-1 win at Hershey. Derek Meech scored on a slap shot – the eventual game-winner – at 6:56 of the third period to break an 0-for-29 slump and end a stretch that saw the club score just one power play goal in its previous 43 chances.
- Home Sweet Home: After a lengthy five-game, 11-day road trip, the IceCaps return to Mile One where they posted a 3-3-0-0 record, but perhaps more importantly have been a much different club on special teams. St. John’s has allowed just three goals on 23 chances on the penalty kill, a success rate of 87.0% that places them 11th in the AHL, compared to a 75.0% success rate on the road. The team’s power play percentage is slightly better at home as well (13.8% compared to 9.8% away from home).
- Trouble in the Middle: Through the first 13 games, St. John’s has allowed 20 goals combined in the first and third periods. In the second period alone, the IceCaps have allowed 19 goals while scoring just seven.
- One-Goal Affairs: St. John’s shares the AHL lead in one-goal victories (six) with the Lake Erie Monsters. All six of the IceCaps’ wins have been by one goal.
- Meech Heating Up: Having missed two of the first three games on the team’s recent five-game road trip with the flu, D Derek Meech has returned to the lineup with a bang, playing his best stretch of hockey of the young season. Meech’s game-winner Saturday was his first goal of the season and he now has points in two straight games (1G, 2A). The rearguard’s seven points (1G, 6A) are good for a share of the team lead with C Alex Burmistrov.