Game Day: IceCaps vs. Phantoms
ICECAPS vs. PHANTOMS
The St. John’s IceCaps and Adirondack Phantoms will meet for the first time in franchise history when the two teams collide at Mile One Centre this weekend. St. John’s and Adirondack franchises are familiar with one another, however, having squared off against each other as the St. John’s Maple Leafs and Adirondack Red Wings, respectively, in the 1990s. The Red Wings defeated the Maple Leafs in seven games to win the 1992 Calder Cup.
The IceCaps split their first two games of the season last weekend with a 4-2 loss to the Falcons in Springfield followed by a 3-2 victory in Connecticut against the Whale.
Spencer Machacek, the team’s leading scorer last season with 50 points, has picked up where he left off. The winger notched three points (1G, 2A) last weekend, including the game-winning goal Sunday at Connecticut while celebrating his 24th birthday. That marker was the 200th career AHL point for the IceCaps forward.
SHARING THE CREASE
Both IceCaps goaltenders saw action in the team’s opening two games. Reigning All-Rookie netminder Eddie Pasquale started the season opener in Springfield while free agent signee Mark Dekanich manned the pipes the next day against Connecticut. Pasquale is beginning his second full season in the AHL, while Dekanich is in his fifth pro season, having spent time in Milwaukee and Springfield of the AHL and Nashville of the NHL.
STREAKS AND MILESTONES
Spencer Machacek (1G, 2A) and Hunter Tremblay (1G, 2A) are currently riding two-game point streaks….F Jason King is one point away from reaching 250 in the AHL….F Ray Sawada is three points shy of reaching 100 for his AHL career….F Aaron Gagnon is two points away from 150 for his AHL career.
The Phantoms opened the season with a thrilling and fast-paced performance in front of a jammed, sold-out and electric crowd at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Adirondack trailed 3-2 late in the second period to the Portland Pirates but the Phantoms would score the next four goals in a row for a 6-3 victory. The following day, despite 31 shots on goal, they were unable to break Curtis McElhinney in the Springfield Falcons net as they suffered a 4-0 defeat. Cal Heeter took the loss in net for the Phantoms.
The Phantoms possess a large contingent of players who spent considerable time with their NHL affiliate in Philadelphia last season. Seven Phantoms skaters played in more than 24 games with the Flyers. Sean Couturier, 19, played in 77 games as a rookie, collecting 27 points (13G, 14A). Brayden Schenn, the Phantoms leading scorer so far this season with three points, played 54 games, collecting 18 points, including 12 goals.
IceCaps fans will remember Phantoms G Scott Munroe, who spent the 2011-12 season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Munroe started three of the four regular season meetings between the IceCaps and Penguins, going 1-2-0 with a 3.62 GAA and a .875 SV%. His lone victory came at Mile One Centre on Jan. 15, 2012 in a 4-3 overtime win by the Penguins.
The brother of Phantoms forward Eric Wellwood is former St. John’s Maple Leaf Kyle Wellwood, who currently plays for the IceCaps’ NHL affiliate the Winnipeg Jets. Kyle, 29, spent two full seasons with the Baby Leafs, recording 142 points (58G, 84A) in 156 games, including a team-high 38 goals in 2004-05, the last season for St. John’s before leaving Newfoundland to become the Toronto Marlies. On October 30, 2004, Wellwood set the Leafs’ franchise record for goals in a game with five.
EXPERIENCED BENCH BOSS
The new head coach for the Adirondack Phantoms is NHL veteran mentor Terry Murray. No coach in the history of the AHL has ever had more experience than Murray who has been at the bench for 1,012 NHL regular season games with Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington and Florida. He has posted a career record of 499-383-89-41 for a points percentage of .557 and is 19th all-time in NHL history in regular season games coached and is 18th all-time in total wins.