What started out as a rough week for the IceCaps turned into something positive. After dropping two straight at home to the Hershey Bears, St. John’s went on the road and came away with two consecutive solid efforts, beating the Springfield Falcons 3-2 in overtime Saturday and defeating the Providence Bruins 4-0 Sunday afternoon, snapping a five-game losing streak. The team travels to Glens Falls, N.Y., to face the Adirondack Phantoms Wednesday before closing out its pre-Christmas schedule with stops in Hamilton and Toronto Friday and Saturday, respectively.
WEEK IN REVIEW:
Tuesday, December 11 - Hershey Bears 2, St. John's IceCaps 1
The St. John’s IceCaps lost their fourth consecutive game with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Hershey Bears Tuesday night at Mile One Centre.
Braden Holtby made 32 saves, including several big stops in the final minutes with the IceCaps’ net empty, to pick up the win for Hershey. Zach Hamill and Jeff Taffe had two assists each while Tomas Kundratek scored the winning goal early in the third period. Zach Redmond scored the lone goal for St. John’s, while Mark Dekanich played a strong game between the pipes, making 20 saves but ultimately getting tagged with the loss.
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Wednesday, December 12 - Hershey Bears 4, St. John's IceCaps 0
The St. John’s IceCaps dropped their fifth straight game with a 4-0 loss to the Hershey Bears Wednesday at Mile One Centre. The Bears leave St. John’s having swept the two-game series.
Braden Holtby turned aside all 30 shots he faced while Jon DiSalvatore scored for the second straight game and added an assist. Ryan Potulny chipped in with a pair of helpers.
For St. John’s, Mark Dekanich got his second straight start in goal and took the loss once again, making 21 saves on 25 shots. Will O’Neill and Zach Redmond led the club with five shots apiece.
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Saturday, December 15 - St. John's IceCaps 3, Springfield Falcons 2 (OT)
Ivan Telegin scored the game-winner in overtime as the St. John’s IceCaps defeated the Springfield Falcons 3-2 Saturday night at MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA.
Telegin took a nice pass from Ben Chiarot and converted past Falcons goaltender Allen York for the decisive marker just 56 seconds into the extra frame to snap the IceCaps’ five-game losing streak.
Spencer Machacek notched a goal and an assist for St. John’s while Eddie Pasquale stopped 21-of-23 shots for his seventh win of the season.
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Sunday, December 16 - St. John's IceCaps 4, Providence Bruins 0
Mark Dekanich made 40 saves for his first shutout with the St. John’s IceCaps to lift his club to a 4-0 victory over the Providence Bruins Sunday afternoon at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Paul Postma had a goal and an assist while Aaron Gagnon’s first goal of the season 45 seconds into the first period was good enough for the game-winner. Spencer Machacek and Jason Gregoire also scored for St. John’s (13-14-0-1), which extended its winning streak to two games and snapped Providence’s streak of eight games with at least a point.
The IceCaps’ special teams units were clicking for the second straight day, going 2-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
- Unleashing the Power: The IceCaps scored a pair of power play goals in each of the last two games – both victories – which is the second time they have accomplished the feat in back-to-back games this season. In the eight contests that the IceCaps have scored at least two power play markers, the team is 7-1.
- Who’s Hot: F Spencer Machacek has scored a goal in back-to-back games… F Ray Sawada has six points (3G, 3A) in his last seven games and has found the score sheet in two straight… D Derek Meech and F Kael Mouillierat have assists in consecutive games.
- Off the Schneid: F Aaron Gagnon finally notched his first point of the season (an assist) in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory at Springfield and promptly followed that up with his first goal just 45 seconds into Sunday’s 4-0 win at Providence. Despite the lack of offensive production until recently, the veteran pivot has been one of the club’s better forwards during the past two weeks.
- Help from the Farm: The IceCaps recalled forwards Ryan Schnell and Ray Kaunisto from Colorado (ECHL) this past week to help their depleted forward corps. Schnell played both games on the weekend and took part in the most spirited tilt of the season when he fought Falcons defenceman Dalton Prout in the first period of Saturday’s game. St. John’s also recalled D Cody Sol, who dressed last Wednesday vs. Hershey but was a healthy scratch this weekend.
- Jaffray Back in Action: The IceCaps’ captain returned from injury for the second time this season when he suited up in Sunday’s contest in Providence against the Bruins. Jaffray had missed the previous five games with a shoulder injury. In 17 games this season, Jaffray has notched 12 points (3G, 9A) and a team-high plus-3 rating (tied with Ivan Telegin).
- Injury Update: Joining the injury list this week was rookie D Julian Melchiori, who suffered a broken finger blocking a shot in Friday’s loss to the Falcons. The IceCaps now have nine players out due to injury, including Travis Ramsey (hand), Jason King (head), Alex Burmistrov (shoulder), Eric O’Dell (lower body), Jason Jaffray (shoulder), John Albert (upper body), Patrice Cormier (knee) and Hunter Tremblay (concussion-like symptoms).