Preview: IceCaps at Admirals
By Chris Doyle
It’s far from David versus Goliath, but the Norfolk Admirals’ play of late would make any opponent seem like the underdog.
The St. John’s IceCaps will attempt to squash the Admirals’ league-record 20-game winning streak Wednesday night in the first of two games at Scope Arena in Norfolk this week.
The IceCaps recently busted a streak of their own, defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2-0 Saturday to snap a season-high four-game skid. Eddie Pasquale, who has seen action in 10 consecutive games, was flawless in stopping 27 shots for his fourth shutout of the season.
The club continues to see a number of its regulars out of the lineup. Eric O’Dell and Garth Murray have yet to play on the current road trip, while Carl Klingberg left the March 21 game in Hershey with a lower-body injury and has not suited up since. However, both Murray and Klingberg were full participants in Tuesday’s practice and coach Keith McCambridge told broadcaster Brian Rogers that Murray will play Wednesday night. O’Dell has been skating but his timetable for a return to the lineup is less clear.
St. John’s made another pair of roster moves Tuesday, recalling goaltender Chris Carrozzi from the Ontario Reign of the ECHL as insurance in goal and signing collegiate defenceman Will O’Neill to an amateur tryout contract (he was first signed to an NHL contract by the Winnipeg Jets. A seventh-round selection by the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2006, the Salem, Massachusetts native is coming off his final season with the University of Maine Black Bears. O’Neill played 141 games in four seasons with Maine, registering 19 goals and 82 assists for 101 points.
Of course, the big story around the league is Norfolk’s incredible run. The Admirals have blown past the entire AHL during their 20-game winning streak, ascending to first overall in the league and becoming the first team to clinch a playoff berth.
The Admirals’ last defeat came way back on February 5 – Super Bowl Sunday – a 4-2 loss to the Springfield Falcons. Since that time, Norfolk has amassed a plus-49 goal differential and scored on 26.9% of its power plays. Twenty skaters have managed to light the lamp for Norfolk during the incredible streak.
The Admirals have also been keeping the puck out of the net: Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus both have sub-2.00 goals-against averages over that span. The Admirals have allowed just 17 even-strength goals and 33 goals overall during the streak.
Wednesday’s meeting will be the third of four in the season series. The two teams split a pair of games at Mile One Centre back in mid-November. The fourth and final game of the series goes Friday night in Norfolk.
Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Puck drop is set for 8:45 p.m. with the pregame show beginning 30 minutes prior.