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Preview: Looking for road perfection Posted by IceCaps on

Friday, Jan. 31

ICECAPS (24-16-1-2, 51 PTS | 2nd Place, Atlantic) AT PIRATES (16-16-2-7, 41 PTS | 5th Place, Atlantic)  
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM ET | Watch: AHL Live | Listen: stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM

The St. John’s IceCaps are riding a season-high four game winning streak and look to keep it going in the final two games of a five-game road trip as they prepare to face the Portland Pirates on Friday night, followed by a match in Manchester against the Monarchs on Saturday night.

The IceCaps haven’t lost since their lopsided 6-0 defeat at the hands of the Monarchs at Mile One Centre on Jan. 18 and have won four straight against Manchester, Providence (twice) and Hartford.

Recently recalled from the ECHL’s Ontario Reign, goaltender Michael Hutchinson has been leading the way for St. John’s and has been between the pipes for all four victories during the team’s current streak.

LAST GAME: Michael Hutchinson kicked out 34 of the 35 shots he faced and Brenden Kichton scored a goal and added two helpers as the St. John’s IceCaps defeated their division rivals, the Providence Bruins, 3-1 at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence.

After skating to a scoreless opening period, Andrew Gordon’s team-leading fifteenth goal of the season opened the scoring on the power play 4:31 into the second frame.

Providence roared back to tie the game near the mid way point of the period as Matt Lindblad beat Hutchinson for his fifth of the season.

Kichton’s go-ahead goal came on the power play just 3:53 into the third period, as he beat Bruins’ goaltender Niklas Svedberg with what would end up being the game-winner.

IceCaps captain Jason Jaffray added an insurance goal with just over ten minutes remaining in the game.

Svedberg wasn’t overly busy, stopping 17 of the 20 shots he faced in taking the loss.

ICECAPS NOTES

NOTES FROM LAST GAME: Not dressed for St. John’s: Carl Klingberg, Cody Sol, Julian Melchiori and Josh Lunden…Providence outshot St. John’s 35-20… The IceCaps went 2-for-5 on the power play and 7-for-7 on the penalty kill… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Brenden Kichton 2. Michael Hutchinson 3. Matt Lindblad …Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Patrice Cormier.

INJURIES: Josh Lunden, Julian Melchiori, Ryan Schnell

TRANSACTIONS: Jan. 29: Paul Postma (D) Conditioning loan from Winnipeg (NHL). Jan. 28: Cody Sol (D) Reassigned by Winnipeg (NHL) to Ontario (ECHL).

QUICK HITS: IceCaps rookie defenseman Brenden Kichton has been added to the roster for the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic against the Swedish Hockey League’s Farjestad BK on Feb. 11 and 12 at Mile One Centre. The rookie rearguard ranks second amongst all AHL defencemen in points (35) and third in rookie scoring… Kichton and Kael Mouillierat remain tied for the IceCaps scoring lead, each having recorded 35 points. Mouillierat notched a hat trick and added an assist in the IceCaps’ win over Hartford on Jan 25, while Kichton, not to be outdone, registered a three-point game against Providence on Jan. 26 and has five points (1G, 4A) in his last two contests… the IceCaps’ recent four-game winning streak, their longest of the season, has helped the team reach new heights in terms of overall league standings. The team now boasts the league’s 13th best winning percentage (0.593%) and sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race… Will O’Neill enters play Friday riding a four-game assist streak, tied for the longest such streak by an IceCap this season. Kyle MacKinnon has picked up a helper in three straight… Paul Postma, who was assigned to St. John’s on a conditioning loan Wednesday, spent a season and a half with the IceCaps from 2011-2013. The offensive defenceman was a First Team All-Star in 2011-12 and won Team MVP honours after recording 44 points in 56 games. Postma last suited up for St. John’s on Jan. 5, 2013 vs. Manchester.

PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: The IceCaps have enjoyed playing against the Pirates this season. In five games played between the two teams thus far, the IceCaps have come away with four victories to the Pirates’ one. The IceCaps have won both games played in Portland.  The IceCaps are 12-8-0-1 lifetime against Portland.

HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS:
STJ:  Carl Klingberg 6 PTS (4G, 2A) | Jason Jaffray 6 PTS (1G, 5A) | Eddie Pasquale (4-1-0, 1.88 GAA, .943 SV%
POR: Brandon McMillan 5 PTS (5A) | Lucas Lessio 3 PTS (2G, 1A) | Louis Domingue (1-1-0, 2.96 GAA, 0.908 SV%)

RECENT ACTION: JAN 26: POR 4 SPR 3 (SO) | Andy Miele and Tobias Rieder each scored in the shootout as the Portland Pirates defeated the Springfield Falcons 4-3 at MassMutual Center in Springfield last Sunday night.

Most of the action took place in the first period as the Falcons held a 3-2 lead after the opening 20 minutes, thanks to goals from Sean Collins, Michael Chaput and Jack Skille.

Andy Miele and Chris Brown scored the first period tallies for Portland.

Brown scored his second of the game on the power play at 11:36 of the second period. The teams skated to a scoreless third period and overtime, forcing the game into a shootout.

Mark Visentin was a busy man between the pipes for Portland, making 37 saves to earn the victory. Jeremy Smith made 21 saves in a losing effort for Springfield.

TRANSACTIONS: Jan. 27: Connor Murphy (D) Recalled from loan by Phoenix (NHL). Jordan Szwarz (RW) Returned on loan from Phoenix (NHL).

Saturday, Feb. 1

ICECAPS (24-16-1-2, 51 PTS | 2nd Place, Atlantic) AT MONARCHS (28-12-2-5, 63 PTS | 1st Place, Atlantic)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM ET | Watch: AHL Live | Listen: stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM

PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: The IceCaps and Monarchs are division rivals and have seen a lot of each other thus far this season. The teams have met eight times already this season, with the IceCaps earning the edge in the season series with five wins against Manchester’s three.

The IceCaps have won two of three in Manchester’s building, Verizon Wireless Arena, while the teams have split four contests played at Mile One Centre in St. John’s.

HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS (with returning players’ statistics from 2012-13 season):
STJ: (x) Eric O’Dell 7 PTS (1G, 6A) | Andrew Gordon 6 PTS (4G, 2A) | Eddie Pasquale (4-2-0, 2.51 GAA, .924 SV%)
MCH: Jordan Weal 10 PTS (1G, 9A) | (x) Tyler Toffoli 8 PTS (5G, 3A) Jean-Francois Berube (1-3-0, 2.03 GAA, .927 SV%)

RECENT ACTION: JAN 26: WOR: 4 MCH 3 (SO) | The Worcester Sharks may have given up a three-goal lead but were able to hang on for the victory as they claimed a 4-3 shootout win over the Manchester Monarchs from Worcester’s DCU Center.

Worcester’s Jimmy Bonneau, Matt Tennyson and Yanni Gourde all scored in a span of less than seven minutes in the second period to seemingly take control of the game, only to have Manchester’s Jordan Weal and Colin Miller cut the lead to one heading into the final frame.

Manchester’s A.J. Gale tied the game 8:54 into the final frame. Overtime solved nothing and forced a shootout.

Gourde and Dan DaSilva each beat Monarchs goaltender Mathias Niederberger in the shootout to preserve the victory.

Niederberger made 28 saves in a losing effort, while the Sharks’ Harri Sateri made 28 saves to earn the victory.

TRANSACTIONS: Jan 23: Cameron Burt (D) Released from PTO. Maxim Kitsyn (LW) Reassigned by Los Angeles (NHL) to Ontario (ECHL).

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