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Preview: IceCaps and Sharks set for battle Posted by IceCaps on

SHARKS (22-18-3-1, 48 PTS | 4th Place, Atlantic) at ICECAPS (27-17-1-2, 57 PTS | 2nd Place, Atlantic)
Watch: Rogers TV, AHL Live | Listen: stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM
Puck drop: Saturday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. NT, Sunday, Feb. 9 at 4:00 p.m. NT

The St. John’s IceCaps are looking to continue their strong play as they head toward the All-Star break and are hoping to bring home a pair of victories when they host the Worcester Sharks for a two-game set at Mile One Centre on Saturday and Sunday.

Even though the IceCaps had their franchise-record tying six-game winning streak snapped last Tuesday night against the Providence Bruins, they remain one of the hottest teams in the American Hockey League. The IceCaps compiled a 9-3 record in the month of January and have won nine of their last 11 games.

The weekend series against the Sharks will be the team’s last before St. John’s hosts the Swedish Hockey League’s Farjestad BK for the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic, Tuesday and Wednesday at Mile One.

LAST GAME: Jason Jaffray and Kael Mouillierat scored in the shootout as the IceCaps outlasted the Bruins 4-3 at Mile One on Wednesday night.

The Bruins’ Nick Johnson and the IceCaps’ Adam Lowry traded goals in the opening frame as the teams skated to a 1-1 draw after 20 minutes.

Andrew Gordon and Paul Postma gave St. John’s a 3-2 lead heading into the third period before the Bruins’ Tyler Randell scored a shorthanded goal 6:32 into the frame to tie the game and force overtime.

Goaltender Eddie Pasquale earned the victory with his 30-save performance, while the Bruins’ starting goaltender Malcolm Subban made 29 saves in a losing effort.

ICECAPS NOTES

NOTES FROM LAST GAME: Not dressed for St. John’s: Kris Fredheim, Cody Lampl, Ryan Schnell, Josh Lunden… St. John’s went 1-for-6 with the man advantage and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill… The IceCaps were outshot 33-32… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Adam Lowry 2. Tyler Randell 3. Kael Mouillierat… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Blair Riley.

INJURY UPDATE: Josh Lunden, Ryan Schnell, Kris Fredheim

TRANSACTIONS: Feb. 6: Paul Postma (D) Recalled from loan by Winnipeg (NHL).

QUICK HITS: With his goal against the Bruins on Wednesday night, rookie Adam Lowry has scored in four straight games and now has six goals in his last seven contests… Both Jason Jaffray (four-game goal streak) and Kyle MacKinnon (five-game point streak) had their streaks snapped in the team’s loss against the Bruins on Tuesday night… Forward Kael Mouillierat has proven himself to be a clutch performer in shootouts. Mouillierat has netted the shootout winner in the team’s last two shootout victories, on Wednesday against the Bruins and on Jan. 11 against the Toronto Marlies… After watching Michael Hutchinson carry the load between the pipes for the IceCaps over the last seven games, Eddie Pasquale made his first start since Jan. 18 in the team’s victory over the Bruins on Wednesday night. With the victory, Pasquale has still yet to lose back-to-back games this season.

PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: The IceCaps have ranked ahead of the Sharks in the standings for much of the 2013-14 season but the Sharks have been one of the more problematic teams for the IceCaps.

In the five games between these division rivals this season, the Sharks have skated away with four victories and a single overtime loss.

Worcester won the first contest 3-0 at home on Nov. 2, before the IceCaps earned a 3-2 overtime win at Mile One Centre on Nov. 13.

The Sharks then won the next three games against the IceCaps, including a pair of shootout wins on Nov. 15 and 16 and a 5-2 victory in Worcester on Dec. 27.

HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS:
STJ Jerome Samson 4 PTS (4G) | Brenden Kichton 4 PTS (4A) |Eddie Pasquale (1-1-1, 1.95 GAA, 0.923 SV%)
WOR: Freddie Hamilton 4 PTS (2G, 2A) | Brodie Reid 4 PTS (2G, 2A) | Harri Sateri (3-0-0, 1.31 GAA, 0.955 SV%)

BRUINS RECENT ACTION: FEB. 1: WOR 3 PRO 2 | Worcester’s Brodie Reid led the way with two goals and one assist and goaltender Troy Grosenick stopped 32 of the 34 shots he faced as the Sharks defeated the Bruins at the DCU Center on Saturday night.

Providence held a 2-1 lead early in the third period on goals from Seth Griffith and Zach Trotman but Reid scored twice less than six minutes apart to steal the victory.

Freddie Hamilton scored the Sharks’ opening tally. Niklas Svedberg played well for the Bruins despite the loss. He finished with 32 saves.

TRANSACTIONS: Feb. 6: John McCarthy (LW) Recalled from loan by San Jose (NHL). Matt Tennyson (D)  Returned on loan from San Jose (NHL). Feb. 5: Chad Rau (C) Returned on loan from San Jose (NHL). Curt Gogol (LW) Recalled from loan by San Jose (NHL). Riley Brace (LW) Traded to Iowa (AHL).

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