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PREVIEW: IceCaps return home looking to clinch Posted by IceCaps on

Paul (1 of 3) (994)

Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5

FALCONS (43-20-1-5, 92 PTS | 1st Place, Northeast) at ICECAPS (41-22-1-4, 87 PTS | 2nd Place, Atlantic)
Puck Drop: 7:30 PM ET | Watch: Rogers TV, AHL Live | Listen: stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM

The St. John’s IceCaps are coming off a rare three-game road winless streak and will be in tough when they return home to Mile One Centre this weekend as the Northeast Division-leading Springfield Falcons come to St. John’s for a two-game set.

The IceCaps, who still rank among the top road teams in the American Hockey League, won the first three games of their recent six-game road trip but failed to come away with a victory in their final three contests against the Syracuse Crunch, Binghamton Senators and Hershey Bears.

St. John’s is inching closer to its second playoff appearance in three seasons, and enters the weekend with a magic number of six points. Any combination of six points earned by the IceCaps and six points not earned by the ninth place team (currently Norfolk) will give the club a berth in the Calder Cup playoffs.

LAST GAME: It took 12 rounds in the shootout but the Bears were able to outlast the IceCaps 2-1 in a shootout last Saturday night at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Veteran Jeff Taffe opened the scoring with his 18th goal of the season just 1:25 into the second period.

It didn’t take the IceCaps long to respond as Kyle Mackinnon potted his ninth goal of the season from Ben Chiarot and Patrice Cormier just over five minutes later.

Defense reigned supreme for the duration of the game as both IceCaps’ starter Tyler Beskorowany and Bears’ netminder David Leggio stood tall for the remainder of regulation and overtime.

Tyson Strachan beat Beskorowany in Round 12 of the shootout before Leggio stoned Austen Brassard to end a wild one.

Beskorowany finished the game with 26 saves, while Leggio grabbed first star honours with a 32-save performance.

ICECAPS NOTES

Not dressed for St. John’s: Kael Mouillierat, Cody Lampl, Colton Beck, Ryan Schnell and Josh Lunden …St. John’s outshot Hershey 33-28… The IceCaps went 0-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. David Leggio 2. Jeff Taffe 3. Kyle MacKinnon… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Tyler Beskorowany.

TRANSACTIONS: 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). Mar. 29: Michael Hutchinson (G) Recalled from loan by Winnipeg (NHL). Michael Hutchinson (G) Returned on loan from Winnipeg (NHL). Mar. 28: Jamie MacQueen (LW) Released from PTO. Mar. 27:  Patrice Cormier (C) Returned on loan from Winnipeg (NHL).

QUICK HITS: The IceCaps’ roster has been a revolving door of late as the parent Winnipeg Jets have been bolstering their squad ahead of a final playoff push. The IceCaps got a boost this week as the Jets reassigned a pair of talented junior players who are set to make their professional debuts in St. John’s this weekend. First round pick Josh Morrissey and second round pick Eric Comrie (both from the 2013 draft) have been reassigned to the IceCaps following their respective exits from the WHL playoffs. The new recruits should feel right at home as the IceCaps roster already boasts four WHL alumni, including captain Jason Jaffray and rookies Brenden Kichton, JC Lipon and Adam Lowry, who played against Morrissey and Comrie last season… The IceCaps have only scored four goals during their recent three-game winless skid, their longest of the season, but the numbers suggest that low-scoring games and long winless streaks won’t soon become a trend in St. John’s. The IceCaps have scored 223 goals to date this season, good for fifth in the American Hockey League. The IceCaps have not lost three straight games in regulation this season.

PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: The IceCaps and Falcons have faced off just twice thus far this season, with both games coming in Springfield. The IceCaps dropped a close 4-2 game on New Years Eve before storming back with a 5-4 victory on March 23. Springfield has historically dominated the IceCaps, owning a 7-2-1-0 lifetime record against St. John’s.

HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS:
STJ: Carl Klingberg 3 PTS (1G, 2A) | JC Lipon 3 PTS (3A) | x Jussi Olkinuora (1-0-0, 4.00 GAA, .892 SV%)
SPR: Jake Hansen 3 PTS (3A) | Patrick McNeill 2 PTS (2G) | Jeremy Smith (1-1-0, 3.53 GAA, .877 SV%)

FALCONS RECENT ACTION: APR 1: SPR 3 BRI 1 | Marko Dano’s first goal of the season in the second period proved to be the game winner as the Falcons earned a 3-1 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Tuesday afternoon.

Jake Hansen opened the scoring early for Springfield, beating Bridgeport netminder Kevin Poulin just 4:25 into the contest.

Dano’s goal gave the Falcons a comfortable two-goal lead heading into the third but Bridgeport’s Andrey Pedan cut the lead to one in the final two minutes of play. However, Cody Bass scored into the empty net to seal a Springfield victory.

Falcons’ starter Anton Forsberg earned the victory with 25 saves.

TRANSACTIONS: Mar. 31: Austin Madaisky (D) Reassigned by Columbus (NHL) to Evansville (ECHL). Mar. 28: Mike McKenna (G) Returned on loan from Columbus (NHL). Mar. 27:  Mike McKenna (G) Recalled from loan by Columbus (NHL).

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