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Preview: IceCaps tangle with Crunch Posted by IceCaps on

CRUNCH (11-8-1-2, 25 PTS | 4th Place, East) at ICECAPS (12-10-1-2, 25 PTS | 3rd Place, Atlantic)
Puck Drop: 7:30 PM NT | Watch: Rogers TV, AHL Live | Listen: stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM

The St. John’s IceCaps will try to finish off their final homestand of 2013 on a high note as they face the Syracuse Crunch for two games starting Tuesday night at Mile One Centre.

The IceCaps, coming off a four-win road trip, gave the hometown fans something to cheer about last Friday night as they trounced the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 5-0, giving IceCaps goaltender Eddie Pasquale his first shutout of the season. Saturday night saw the opposite as the IceCaps failed to gain momentum and dropped a 3-0 decision to the Penguins.

LAST GAME: The Penguins grabbed their first lead of the game 10:10 into the second frame and added a pair of insurance markers down the stretch as they hung on to defeat the St. John’s IceCaps 3-0 at Mile One Centre on Saturday night.

The teams skated to a scoreless first period that saw tight defensive play reign supreme as the teams combined for six shots on goal.

The Penguins’ Tom Kuhnhackl broke the tie in the second period as he banged in his sixth goal of the season past a down-and-out Eddie Pasquale. Penguins top scorer Brian Gibbons gave his team a two-goal lead with just under three minutes to play in the period and Bobby Farnham pushed the lead to three with a dagger just 21 seconds into the final period. Jeff Deslauriers was strong between the pipes for the Penguins and made 30 saves for his first shutout of the season. Pasquale finished the game with 13 saves.

ICECAPS NOTES

NOTES FROM LAST GAME: Scratched for the IceCaps: Cody Lampl, Josh Lunden, Julian Melchiori, Travis Ehrhardt, Austen Brassard… St. John’s went 0-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Jeff Deslauriers, 2. Brian Gibbons, 3. Bobby Farnham. Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Ryan Schnell.

INJURY UPDATE: Josh Lunden, Julian Melchiori

TRANSACTIONS: Dec. 1: John Albert (C) Recalled from loan by Winnipeg (NHL)

QUICK HITS: IceCaps forward Eric O’Dell remains in the hunt for the American Hockey League scoring race. O’Dell posted one assist in this past weekend’s set against the Penguins and now boasts 24 points (11G, 13A) in 24 games played, good for a tie for eighth in league scoring. Tied with O’Dell, along with four other players, is Syracuse’s Nikita Kucherov (17GP, 13G, 11A), who hasn’t played in the American Hockey League since his callup to the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 24…  IceCaps goaltender Eddie Pasquale is the busiest goaltender in the AHL. After appearing in both games against the Penguins this past weekend, Pasquale leads all AHL goaltenders in games played (20), minutes played (1198:23) and shots faced (578)… The IceCaps are one of just three teams to rank in the top-10 on the power play (6th) and the penalty kill (9th). The Texas Stars and Oklahoma City Barons are the other two squads… St. John’s had scored a power play goal in six straight games before being shut out by the Penguins Saturday… Crunch forward Ray Kaunisto spent 2012-13 with the IceCaps organization, playing one game for St. John’s and 53 contests with the Colorado Eagles (ECHL).

PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: The IceCaps and Penguins faced off three times in a cross-Newfoundland Mary’s Cup preseason tournament, but have only squared off once so far during the regular season. On Nov. 29, Cedric Paquette scored the go-ahead goal with just under five minutes to play in the third period and Danick Gauthier potted an insurance-marker into the empty net as the Crunch defeated the IceCaps 4-2 at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York.

Ray Kaunisto and Geoff Walker paced the Crunch to a 2-0 at the 12:10 mark of the second period before captain Jason Jaffray and rookie JC Lipon scored 23 seconds apart to tie the game heading into the second intermission. The IceCaps couldn’t find the equalizer after Paquette’s fifth goal of the season as the Crunch held on for the victory. Cedric Desjardins made 26 saves between the pipes for Syracuse, while Eddie Pasquale made 33 stops for the IceCaps.

HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS:
STJ: Jason Jaffray 1 PT (1G) | JC Lipon 1 PT (1G) | Eddie Pasquale (0-1-0, 2.00 GAA, .916 SV%)
SYR: Cedric Paquette 2 PTS (1G, 1A) | Danick Gauthier 2 PTS (1G, 1A) | Cedric Desjardins (1-0-0, 2.00 GAA, .928 SV%)

CRUNCH RECENT ACTION: DEC 7: NOR 2 SYR 1 | Admirals defenceman Jesse Blacker led the way with a goal and an assist as the Norfolk Admirals defeated the Syracuse Crunch 2-1 at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York. Blacker and Rickard Rakell scored for the Admirals, while Eric Neilson replied for the Crunch. Igor Bobkov made 21 saves to earn the victory for Norfolk, while Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 22 shots in taking the loss.

TRANSACTIONS: Dec. 4: Kristers Gudlevskis (G) Reassigned by Tampa Bay (NHL) from Florida (ECHL). Matt Taormina (D) Recalled from loan by Tampa Bay (NHL).

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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