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Preview: IceCaps, Pirates square off in three-game set Posted by IceCaps on

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PIRATES (13-11-1-4, 31 PTS | 4th Place, Atlantic) at ICECAPS (16-13-1-2, 35 PTS | 3rd Place, Atlantic)

Sunday, Jan. 5th (4:00 PM NT) | Monday, Jan. 6th (7:30 PM NT) | Tuesday, Jan. 7th (7:30 PM NT)

Watch: Rogers TV, AHL Live | Listen: stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM

The St. John’s IceCaps are hoping to remain in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as they open a three-game series against their division rivals, the Portland Pirates, at Mile One Centre starting Sunday afternoon.

SATURDAY’S GAME RESCHEDULED TO MONDAY

St. John’s has won six of its last ten games and will hope to pad those numbers as they host a surging Pirates team which has lost just two regulation games in their last ten.

The IceCaps are coming off a hard-fought 4-2 loss to the Springfield Falcons, who lead the league with an impressive 0.774 points percentage. St. John’s has lost three of four coming off their longest winning streak of the season; a three-game run including wins over the Syracuse Crunch (twice) and the Hamilton Bulldogs.

St. John’s hopes its recent strong play at Mile One continues, as it plays its next eight contests at home. To date, the IceCaps have played 13 games on home ice and have skated away with seven victories against just three regulation losses (7-3-1-2).

The upcoming games against the Pirates will be the teams’ third, fourth and fifth meetings this season. The Pirates and IceCaps are scheduled to face each other 12 times in total.

LAST GAME: The IceCaps held a slim 2-1 lead late into the second frame but couldn’t stop a powerful Springfield Falcons squad, which scored three third-period goals en route to a 4-2 victory over the IceCaps at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts on New Years Eve.

Kyle MacKinnon’s third goal of the year gave the IceCaps the early 1-0 lead near the midway point of the opening frame before Springfield’s Lukas Sedlak evened the score just over four minutes later as the teams skated to a 1-1 draw after 20 minutes.

Kael Mouillierat notched his seventh goal of the season just under six minutes into the second frame to restore the IceCaps lead but the Falcons’ Jonathan Marchessault tied the game with a momentum-shifting power play goal with just two seconds remaining in the period.

The Falcons were able to build on Marchessault’s goal early in the third period, as Jean-Francois Jacques beat Eddie Pasquale just 1:18 into the third period. The IceCaps were unable to respond in the frame and Andrew Joudrey scored an insurance marker with just under two minutes remaining to put the game out of reach. The IceCaps threw 33 shots at Falcons netminder Jeremy Smith, who finished the game with 31 saves and third star honours. Pasquale made 29 saves between the pipes for St. John’s.

ICECAPS NOTES

NOTES FROM LAST GAME: Scratched for the IceCaps: Josh Lunden, Cody Lampl, Julian Melchiori, Austen Brassard… Shots in the game were tied 33-33… St. John’s went 0-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Jean-Francois Jacques 2. Jonathan Marchessault 3. Jeremy Smith… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Kael Mouillierat.

INJURY UPDATE: Josh Lunden

TRANSACTIONS: Dec. 30: Julian Melchori (C) Returned from loan from Winnipeg (NHL). Dec. 26: Eric O’Dell (C) Recalled from loan by Winnipeg (NHL).

QUICK HITS: Strong play in the American Hockey League has resulted in several members of the IceCaps seeing time with the parent Winnipeg Jets this season. Defenseman Julian Melchiori played in his first NHL game on Dec. 27 as the Jets hosted the Minnesota Wild at the MTS Centre. Melchiori played 14 shifts totaling 8:41 in ice time and finished with a minus-1 rating… After being credited with an assist in the team’s Dec 27 loss to the Worcester Sharks on a scoring change last week, rookie defenceman Brenden Kichton reached a team-high for points in consecutive games (five). In those five contests, Kichton notched seven points (2G, 5A) and now sits third in defencemen scoring and 10th in rookie scoring… Even though the IceCaps have won four of their last seven games, the team has struggled to find the back of the net on a consistent basis. In their last five games, the IceCaps have scored no more than three goals per game.  The last time the IceCaps scored more than three goals in a game was the team’s 5-1 win over the Syracuse Crunch on Dec. 11.

PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: The Pirates and IceCaps have met twice in Portland this season, with the IceCaps winning both games by a combined score of 9-3. On Oct. 30, Carl Klingberg (2G, 1A), Andrew Gordon (1G, 1A), Jason Jaffray (1G, 1A) and John Albert (1G, 1A) all recorded multi-point games as the IceCaps rolled to a 5-1 victory at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine. Two nights later on Nov. 1, Eddie Pasquale was named first star of the game after making 39 saves and the IceCaps got a pair of goals from Zach Redmond and singles from Eric O’Dell and JC Lipon to take the second game by a score of 4-2.

HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS:

STJ: Jason Jaffray 4 PTS (1G, 3A) | Carl Klingberg 3 PTS (2G, 1A) | Eddie Pasquale (2-0-0, 1.50 GAA, .959 SV%)

POR: Brendan Shinnimin 2 PTS (2G) | Brandon McMillan 2 PTS (2A) | Mark Visentin (0-2-0, 7.74 GAA, .811 SV%)

 

PIRATES RECENT ACTION: DEC 31: POR 4 BRI 2 | Louis Domingue made 23 saves as Portland overcame an early two-goal deficit to defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4-2 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine. Bridgeport’s Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Anders Lee paced the Sound Tigers to a 2-0 lead early in the second period before Portland’s Brett Hextall stopped the bleeding with 2:09 left in the second period. Still trailing by one heading into the third, Jordan Szwarz and Lucas Lessio scored just over four minutes apart before Hextall’s second of the game into an empty net sealed the victory. Bridgeport’s Anders Nilsson made 28 saves in a losing effort.

TRANSACTIONS:

Dec. 30: Chris Brown (RW) Recalled from loan by Phoenix (NHL). Dec. 29: Gilbert Brule (RW) Suspended by Team. Gilbert Brule (RW) Returned on loan from Phoenix.

LISTEN TO EVERY ICECAPS GAME LIVE

Listen to every IceCaps game this season online at www.stjohnsicecaps.com by clicking the ‘Listen Live’ link on the homepage. Play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers brings you all the action on the ice, including a pregame show that starts 30 minutes before the drop of the puck. Fans can also watch 29 home games live on Rogers TV in Newfoundland and listen on the radio at 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. And, watch all the games streaming live online at www.ahllive.com!

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