Preview: IceCaps vs. Sound Tigers
By Chris Doyle
The St. John’s IceCaps look to keep the ball rolling when they visit the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders) Wednesday night at Webster Bank Arena.
Coming off a successful weekend that included overtime and shootout victories in Connecticut and Worcester, respectively, the IceCaps will try to extend their lead over the Sharks and Manchester Monarchs atop the Atlantic Division standings.
This past weekend, St. John’s collected wins in two-of-three games while losing to the Portland Pirates Saturday. Friday, Jason Jaffray scored the overtime winner just 16 seconds into the extra frame to give the IceCaps a 2-1 victory over the Whale. After a 5-2 loss Saturday night, St. John’s rebounded with a hard-fought 3-2 shootout win over the Sharks. Garth Murray scored in regulation and added the shootout winner, while David Aebischer stopped all five Worcester shooters for his 12th victory of the season.
The IceCaps have been nearly unstoppable on the road this season, sporting a 14-2-2-1 record in games played away from the cozy confines of Mile One Centre. One of those 14 victories came in Bridgeport back on Nov. 6 when the IceCaps defeated the Sound Tigers 4-3. St. John’s stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first before allowing Bridgeport to come all the way back and tie it in the second period. Marco Rosa’s third period power play goal proved to be the game-winner.
The IceCaps will be without forward Aaron Gagnon after the 25-year-old was recalled by Winnipeg Tuesday. The Quesnel, BC native has collected 20 points in 32 games with a minus-four rating and has recently teamed with Jaffray and Jason King to form a dangerous line for St. John’s. The trio combined for eight points during the three games last weekend, despite Jaffray missing Sunday’s contest and King leaving early in the same game with an undisclosed injury.
The Sound Tigers enter Wednesday’s contest winners of eight straight and have climbed to within two points of first place Connecticut in the Northeast Division. Goaltender Kevin Poulin has spearheaded the charge, winning all four starts in the New Year and earning AHL Player of the Week honours for his three consecutive shutouts during the first week of the month.
Bridgeport and St. John’s have played three times so far, with the IceCaps sporting a 2-0-1-0 record. The meeting marks the fourth and final time the two teams play this season.
Catch all the action with IceCaps broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Puck drop is set for 8:30 p.m. with the pregame show beginning at 8:00 (all times Newfoundland).