PREVIEW: IceCaps host Bulldogs with eye on playoffs Posted by IceCaps on
Tuesday, April 8th & Wednesday, April 9th
ICECAPS (42-22-2-4, 90 PTS | 4TH, EASTERN) vs. BULLDOGS (31-33-1-6, 69 PTS | 12TH, EASTERN)
PUCK DROP: 7:30 PM NT | WATCH: Rogers TV, AHL Live | LISTEN: stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM
Needing just two points to clinch a playoff spot, the St. John’s IceCaps host the Hamilton Bulldogs for the first of two games at Mile One Centre this week.
The IceCaps picked up three of a possible four points this past weekend versus the Springfield Falcons, losing 8-7 in overtime Friday before bouncing back with a 3-1 victory Saturday. Coupled with a Norfolk Admirals’ loss Sunday to the Hartford Wolf Pack, St. John’s can secure a berth in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs with a win tonight.
The IceCaps currently rank fourth in the Eastern Conference standings with 90 points, eight points back of the first place Manchester Monarchs with two games in-hand. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins sit in fifth, just two points back but with one less game left in the schedule.
LAST GAME: John Albert scored two goals and Jason Jaffray picked up assists on both, as the St. John’s IceCaps downed the Springfield Falcons 3-1 Saturday night at Mile One Centre.
Jerome Samson also scored for the IceCaps, who earned three-of-four points on the weekend. Tyler Beskorowany was strong between the pipes, stopping 23-of-24 shots.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME: Not dressed for St. John’s: Kael Mouillierat, Ryan Schnell, Colton Beck, Austen Brassard, Eddie Pasquale… John Albert has three goals in his last two games… Jason Jaffray combined for five assists in the series against Springfield… The IceCaps outshot the Falcons 31-24… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. John Albert 2. Jason Jaffray 3. Julian Melchiori… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Blair Riley.
INJURY UPDATE: Eddie Pasquale, Kael Mouillierat
TRANSACTIONS: Apr 6: Carl Klingberg recalled from loan by Winnipeg (NHL). Apr. 1: Jussi Olkinuora (G) Reassigned by Winnipeg (NHL) to Ontario (ECHL). Mar. 31: Eric Comrie (G) Reassigned by Winnipeg (NHL) from Tri-City (WHL). Josh Morrissey (D) Reassigned by Winnipeg (NHL) from Prince Albert (WHL). Mar. 30: Ben Chiarot (D) Recalled from loan by Winnipeg (NHL). Zach Redmond (D) Recalled from loan by Winnipeg (NHL).
QUICK HITS: With their next win, the IceCaps will tie their single-season record (43) set in 2011-12, the team’s inaugural season… Three players sit atop the IceCaps’ goal-scoring leaderboard with 23 tallies: Andrew Gordon, Jerome Samson and John Albert. Albert scored three times last weekend, while Samson notched two goals, including the game-winner Saturday… Among players with 20 or more goals this season, Albert ranks third in shooting percentage (19.5%)… The race for leading point-scorer is also a tight one, with Gordon and Jason Jaffray knotted at 54 points apiece. Despite missing the last 12 games, Kael Mouillierat is just five points back… Jaffray has played the role of setup man in his last two outings, notching five assists. His 36 helpers lead the club, one more than rookie rearguard Brenden Kichton… Samson’s 199 shots on goal rank 14th in the AHL… Will O’Neill has climbed into the top-20 in defenceman scoring with 34 points (8G, 26A)… Julian Melchiori became the second IceCap to reach a plus/minus rating of +20 this past weekend after finishing +4 in two games. The only team with two or more players +20 or greater is the Manchester Monarchs, who amazingly have five players above that threshold, including Andrew Bodnarchuk and his league-leading +39 rating… The IceCaps’ power play continues to struggle, having gone scoreless in five games and six of its last seven (2-for-28 during that span). Their last power play tallies came on Mar. 23 at Springfield, when Adam Lowry and Zach Redmond both found the back of the net with the man advantage.
PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: The IceCaps and Bulldogs have met twice this season prior to the current two-game series, both times in Hamilton. The Bulldogs skated away to a 3-2 win back on Oct. 11, while the IceCaps shut out their Canadian rivals 3-0 on Dec. 14. In the last three seasons, St. John’s sports a 9-8-0-1 record versus Hamilton, including a 5-3-0-0 mark at Mile One Centre. Against the North Division this season, the IceCaps are just 2-4-0-0.
STJ: Brenden Kichton 3 PTS (3A) | Andrew Gordon 2 PTS (1G, 1A) | x Jussi Olkinuora (1-0-0, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%)
HAM: Mike Blunden 2 PTS (1G, 1A) | Patrick Holland 1 PTS (1G) | Dustin Tokarski (1-1-0, 2.50 GAA, .932 SV%)
BULLDOGS RECENT ACTION: APR 5: GR 2 HAM 1 (SO) | The Hamilton Bulldogs extended their point streak to four games on Saturday evening, but fell to the Grand Rapids Griffins 2-1 following a 10-round shootout at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dustin Tokarski made 36 saves in regulation and overtime and stopped 8-of-10 in the shootout but was tagged with the loss. Former IceCap Maxime Macenauer scored the lone goal in regulation for the Bulldogs.
BULLDOGS TRANSACTIONS: Apr. 6: Jonathan Narbonne (D) signed to a PTO. Stefan Fournier (RW) reassigned by Montreal (NHL) to Wheeling (ECHL). Apr. 4: Nathan Beaulieu (D) recalled from loan by Montreal (NHL). Apr. 1: Brady Vail (C) and Connor Crisp (LW) signed to ATOs.