Game 2 Preview: IceCaps at Admirals
Photo by John Wright
The St. John’s IceCaps will be aiming for a road split when they face the Norfolk Admirals tonight at Scope Arena in Game 2 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals.
Norfolk came out flying in Game 1, using a three-goal second period in a 6-1 rout of the visiting IceCaps to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Admirals received four goals from defencemen, including two from Mike Kostka, and a solid effort from goaltender Dustin Tokarski, who made 29 saves in the win.
“It’s not a one-game series; it’s a seven-game series,” said head coach Keith McCambridge following the loss. “Our objective right now is we’d like to focus on getting the split out of here. With that being said, we have a chance to regroup and get focused on what we need to do.”
One area that needs to show improvement is the power play. Going into Thursday’s game, the IceCaps power play unit had scored in four straight games but went just 1-for-7 in Game 1. The IceCaps had a great opportunity to strike first late in the opening period after a Keith Aulie high-sticking double-minor and a Mark Barberio delay of game penalty but were unable to cash in. The Admirals then scored on a power play of their own just before the period ended.
Admirals head coach Jon Cooper surmised that the missed opportunity could very well have been a game changer.
“If our PK doesn’t step up, and they score one in that span, you’re probably looking at a whole different hockey game,” said Cooper. “It didn’t suck all the momentum from St. John’s but it really gave us a boost and just kind of rolled from there.”
“If we would have gotten a goal there, were we good enough to win that game? Probably not,” McCambridge stated. “It would have been nice to have one there, but we just didn’t have enough personnel going tonight.”
St. John’s will hope to have shut-down defenceman Arturs Kulda and regular season leading scorer Spencer Machacek back in the lineup for Game 2. Kulda was a surprise scratch after taking the warmup, while Machacek’s status was in doubt after he left Game 7 against the Penguins with an undisclosed injury. Kulda has one assist in 10 playoff games while Machacek has seven assists and a plus-one rating in 11 contests.
Puck drop is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Newfoundland time Saturday night, with the pregame show hitting the airwaves at 9:00 p.m. Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on the radio at 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Fans can see the game streaming online at www.ahllive.com.