Game Day: IceCaps vs. Falcons
ICECAPS vs. FALCONS
Puck Drop: 7:30 PM NDT
Listen Live: stjohnsicecaps.com, 930AM
Watch: Rogers TV, AHL Live
The St. John’s IceCaps (11-10-0-1) host the Springfield Falcons (12-4-1-3) Friday at Mile One Centre, the second meeting between the teams this season.
In the season’s opening game for both teams, the IceCaps dropped a 4-2 decision to the Falcons at MassMutual Center on Oct. 13. Matt Calvert and Tomas Kubalik each had a goal and an assist and Curtis McElhinney stopped 23-of-25 shots. Eddie Pasquale made 29 saves in keeping the IceCaps in the game while Carl Klingberg and Hunter Tremblay scored for St. John’s in the loss.
The IceCaps went just 1-2-1-0 vs. the Falcons last season, including a 1-1-0-0 mark at Mile One. Eric O’Dell led St. John’s with six goals in only three games played, including a hat trick on Apr. 7 in a 6-3 home loss. O’Dell added the game-winner the following afternoon in a 4-3 victory. For Springfield, Nick Drazenovic led his club with five points (1G, 4A) in three games while Andrew Joudrey tallied four goals in four games.
BACK TO THE WELL
The injury-ravaged IceCaps went to a familiar face for help Thursday when they signed F Shawn Weller to a professional tryout contract. Weller, who was serving as captain for the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, spent half of last season with the IceCaps, playing in 41 games and notching 24 points (10G, 14A) with 28 penalty minutes. The 6’2, 205-pound native of Glens Falls, NY has put up 15 points (7G, 8A) in 24 games for the Stingrays this season. Weller has played in 291 career AHL games with the IceCaps, Binghamton Senators, Abbotsford Heat, Manitoba Moose and Texas Stars.
In addition to signing Weller, St. John’s also inked F Kael Mouillierat to a professional tryout contract. As a rookie last season, the Edmonton native played in 44 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, recording 23 points (8G, 15A) and 47 penalty minutes with a plus-16 rating. In 19 games with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads this season, the winger has 27 points (14G, 13A) and 29 penalty minutes… The IceCaps are 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 games and have won three of their last four contests. The club has allowed just eight goals against during that span and have improved to sixth overall in goals against per game (2.73)… St. John’s has killed off 26 of its last 27 times shorthanded… The IceCaps were shut out on the power play for the first time in five games in last Saturday’s 5-3 loss to WBS… St. John’s is 3-1-0-0 in Friday games.
Patrice Cormier (knee), Hunter Tremblay (concussion-like symptoms), John Albert (upper body), Travis Ramsey (hand), Jason King (undisclosed), and Eric O’Dell (lower body) remain out with their respective ailments. Alex Burmistrov (upper body) and Jason Jaffray (undisclosed) were hurt in last Saturday’s game at WBS and will miss both games this weekend.
STREAKS and LEADERS
IceCaps leading scorer Derek Meech (3G, 10A, 13P) is tied with Binghamton’s Patrick Wiercioch for the AHL lead in game-winning goals amongst defencemen with three… G Eddie Pasquale in seventh in the AHL in save percentage (.929) and ninth in in goals-against average (2.33) amongst qualifying goaltenders… Pasquale has started five consecutive games for the IceCaps… F Spencer Machacek has seven points (1G, 6A) in his last four games… D Zach Redmond has taken over the team lead in goal scoring with six after scoring eight all of last season…
Springfield enters play ranked second in goals-against per game (2.10) thanks in large part to a stout defensive unit and terrific goaltending. Curtis McElhinney’s 1.85 goals-against average is good for fifth in the AHL while his .940 save percentage ranks third. McElhinney tied Manny Legace’s franchise record of five shutouts in a season in last Sunday’s 5-0 blanking of the Connecticut Whale. The veteran netminder notched his fifth shutout of the season in just his 16th start, 21 fewer appearances than it took Legace in 1995-96. (He accomplished the feat in 37 games that season.)
Falcons F Ryan Johansen has ties to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Johansen’s mother, Rosalind Peach, hails from Grand Bank and still has several siblings living on the Burin Peninsula. The young Falcons forward will have family and friends in attendance for Saturday night’s game. Johansen previously played at Mile One Centre in the summer of 2010 for Team Canada’s training camp for the U20 World Juniors.
Springfield has the AHL’s top road record with a mark of 6-1-1-0 (.812 points percentage) and have recorded a point in seven of the club’s eight contests away from MassMutual Center this season, including each of the last five games. The Falcons have scored five goals in four consecutive road games.
SPECIAL TEAMS SUCCESS
Entering this weekend’s series, the Falcons rank fifth in the league both on the power play and on the penalty kill. Springfield has scored a power play goal in each of the last three games is operating at a 21.7% efficiency on the season. The Falcons have not allowed an opposing power play goal in four-straight contests and have been perfect on each of its last 17 penalty kills dating back to the first period of a 4-3 shootout loss to Manchester on Nov. 24.