Preview: IceCaps at Bulldogs
The St. John’s IceCaps get back to action when they take on the Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum Wednesday night.
Having concluded their Christmas break, the IceCaps are set to continue their successful inaugural season. Heading into Wednesday night’s contest, St. John’s sits just one point behind the Manchester Monarchs for first place in the Atlantic Division with three fewer games played. The IceCaps have been at or near the top of the standings the entire season to date.
The IceCaps have had plenty of success putting the puck in the net during the team’s first 29 games, ranking third overall in goals scored. Marco Rosa leads the IceCaps with 27 points (6g, 21a) and sits 15th in league scoring, while rookie Carl Klingberg and Newfoundland native Jason King share the team goal-scoring lead with 10 apiece.
Prior to the break, the IceCaps took two-of-three and recorded five of a possible six points on their three-game road trip through New England. On Dec. 16, St. John’s received a solid effort from David Aebischer, who made 26 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Manchester Monarchs. The following night, the IceCaps dropped a hard-fought decision to the Portland Pirates in a 4-3 shootout loss. However, St. John’s exacted its revenge the next day when it dominated the Pirates 5-2, on the strength of a two-goal performance by Patrice Cormier and a 29 save effort by Eddie Pasquale.
St. John’s is eager to welcome back captain Jason Jaffray, who cleared waivers and was reassigned to the IceCaps during the break. Jaffray, who was recalled by the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 13 to bolster a slumping Jets offense, managed just one assist in 13 games but helped spark the Jets, who now sit just two points out of a playoff spot. In 15 games with the IceCaps, Jaffray scored seven goals and added five assists for 12 points with a plus-5 rating, and scored a hat-trick Nov. 12 versus Connecticut in an 8-4 win.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are 6-2-0-2 in their past 10 games and have slowly crept up the North Division standings. Hamilton has won two straight, including a convincing 6-3 victory over division-leading Toronto on Monday. The Bulldogs have collected points in six straight games and have allowed just 13 goals during that span.
The IceCaps lead the season series 2-1 heading into the fourth of eight matchups this season with the Bulldogs. The most recent clash came back on Dec. 2 in Hamilton when Aebischer and the IceCaps shut out the Bulldogs 4-0 at Copps Coliseum. Spencer Machacek had a pair of goals for the visitors, while Marco Rosa and Jake Marto chipped in with two assists each. The two teams also split a pair of games at Mile One Centre in St. John’s in mid-October. The Bulldogs blanked the IceCaps 4-0 in their home opener on Oct. 14, while the IceCaps dominated the following night with a 6-2 triumph.
Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers live at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Game time is set for 9:00 p.m. Newfoundland Time with the pregame show beginning at 8:30 p.m.