Preview: IceCaps at Bulldogs
Photos courtesy Dennis Pellerin
By Chris Doyle
The St. John’s IceCaps and Hamilton Bulldogs do battle Friday night on the big stage at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
A week after the IceCaps nearly came back from a 4-0 deficit – eventually losing 4-3 – the two teams will meet for the sixth time this season, with the IceCaps looking for their fourth victory.
The loss to Hamilton last Friday snapped the IceCaps’ four-game winning streak, but the team responded with a solid 2-1 victory Saturday in Toronto. Eddie Pasquale rebounded after allowing three goals on eight shots against Hamilton to stop 24 shots and record his team-leading 15th win of the season.
Despite the rough outing, Pasquale has been one of the hottest IceCaps over the past month. The Toronto native has won his last seven decisions (David Aebischer was charged with the loss in Hamilton last week) and is sporting a tidy 1.93 goals-against average and 0.931 save percentage in the month of February.
St. John’s, which does not return to play at home until March 9, maintains the league’s best road record at 18-3-2-1, good for a .812 points percentage. The IceCaps have won five of their last six games on the road and have outscored their opponents 80-54 on the season.
Since the Bulldogs victory over the IceCaps one week ago, the club has played three times, winning the first two but dropping their most recent decision 4-2 against the Grand Rapids Griffins Wednesday.
Like St. John’s, Hamilton comes into the contest on somewhat of a hot streak, having won four of its last five games overall. Goaltender Nathan Lawson has won his last four starts, while forward Joonas Nattinen, the reigning Reebok/AHL Player of the Week, has goals in four straight games and has five goals and six points in that span.
The IceCaps are 3-2-0-0 versus the Bulldogs this season, including a 2-1 mark on the road. The teams play a total of eight times, with the final two matchups coming March 13 and 14 at Mile One Centre in St. John’s.
Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show begins at 8:00 p.m. with the drop of the puck set for 8:30 p.m. (all times Newfoundland).