Game Preview: IceCaps vs. Whale
The St. John’s IceCaps begin a six-game homestand this weekend with a pair of games against the Northeast Division-leading Connecticut Whale (New York Rangers).
The IceCaps, AHL and Atlantic Division leaders with a 9-2-3-0 record (21 points), are coming off a tremendously successful road trip in which they won four-of-six games and recorded 10 of a possible 12 points. Goaltender Eddie Pasquale was sensational in each of the four wins, stopping a combined 88-of-95 shots for a 0.926 save percentage. Pasquale’s four wins last week improved his overall record to 5-0-0 on the season.
Last Friday, the IceCaps bested the Whale 6-3 in their only meeting to date. Defenceman Arturs Kulda scored twice in a four-goal third period for St. John’s, which overcame a one-goal deficit heading into the final frame. Eric O’Dell’s first professional goal at 9:40 of the third turned out to be the game-winner.
St. John’s has received contributions offensively from a multitude of sources. The IceCaps boast 10 players with eight points or more and are led by centre Marco Rosa, whose eight assists and 11 points lead the team. Rookie Carl Klingberg leads in goal scoring with seven while Riley Holzapfel has potted six goals, including three game-winners.
The IceCaps recent string of success has catapulted them into first place in Eastern Conference and first overall in the entire AHL. The first-year franchise has won four straight games and has collected at least a point in 12 of its 14 games.
The Whale, meanwhile, is coming off a 3-2 shootout victory over the Albany Devils on Saturday night. Rookie Jonathan Audy-Marchessault continued his strong play, recording six points (3g, 3a) in last week’s action. Audy-Marchessault has a team-leading 11 points in 12 games with a +3 rating.
Connecticut has received solid contributions from its dynamic duo of goaltenders. Chad Johnson and Cameron Talbot have combined for a 2.25 GAA and a 0.918 save percentage, guiding the Whale to a 7-2-1-2 record (17 points).
This weekend will mark the return of several players familiar with Mile One Centre. Forwards Kris Newbury and John Mitchell and defenceman Brendan Bell all spent time with the St. John’s Maple Leafs. Newbury and Bell both played two seasons with the Baby Leafs from 2003-2005 while Mitchell played just two games for St. John’s in the 2004-05 season.
Saturday night’s game will feature a special Remembrance Day ceremony to honour members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty since World War I. Sunday’s matinee affair begins at 4:00 p.m.
Catch all the action with Brian Rogers on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador and online at www.stjohnsicecaps.com. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before puck drop.