Preview: IceCaps vs. Bulldogs
By Chris Doyle
The St. John’s IceCaps and Hamilton Bulldogs reconnect for a two-game series Tuesday and Wednesday at Mile One Centre.
The IceCaps are fresh off a sweep of the Hershey Bears this past weekend at Mile One. Friday, Patrice Cormier racked up four points – including his first professional hat trick – in a 6-1 IceCaps drubbing. John Albert had three assists (his second three-assist game of the season) and was a team-best plus-5.
Saturday, the teams played a more tightly-contested affair, with the Bears battling back to tie the game at two with less than three minutes to play in regulation. Jason King proved to be the hero, scoring the only goal in the shootout to lift St. John’s to a 3-2 victory.
Goaltender Eddie Pasquale started both contests and was on his game, stopping 47-of-50 shots in winning his 18th and 19th games of the season. The Toronto native, who was presented with his award Friday for winning Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the week beginning Feb. 6, has won four consecutive starts, posting a 1.71 goals-against average and a 0.932 save percentage.
However, the young netminder did not fare well against the Bulldogs in his most recent outing. The 21-year-old was shelled for three goals on just eight shots in the first period of 4-3 IceCaps loss on Feb. 17 in Hamilton.
Defenceman Paul Postma has also been on a roll as of late, registering a point in five straight games (2g, 3a). The Red Deer, Alberta-born blueliner is tied for first among AHL defencemen with 13 goals and is two shy of his career high of 15, set in 2009-10 with the Chicago Wolves. Postma is also just three points away from matching his career high of 45, which he set last season with Chicago in 69 games. In six games versus Hamilton this season, Postma has recorded three points (1g, 2a).
The Bulldogs have lost five of their last six and have not managed to score more than two goals in regulation time since a 7-2 win in Rochester on Feb. 19. Hamilton dropped both games of a home-and-home against the Toronto Marlies this past weekend, losing 5-1 Friday at Copps Coliseum and 2-1 in overtime Saturday in Toronto.
Hamilton has fallen to 14th in the Western Conference, 11 points back of the Lake Erie Monsters for the 8th and final playoff spot.
In the season series, the IceCaps are 3-2-0-1, including a 1-1-0-0 mark at Mile One Centre. The Bulldogs handed the IceCaps a 4-0 loss back on Oct. 14 in the club’s inaugural home opener, as Nathan Lawson stopped 40 shots for the shutout. The IceCaps avenged their opening night loss the next day, coming back with a 6-2 victory on the strength of Carl Klingberg’s hat trick.
Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show begins at 7:00 p.m. with the drop of the puck set for 7:30 (all times Newfoundland).