ROUND 1 PREVIEW | It’s Crunch Time IceCaps take on Crunch in first round Calder Cup Battle Posted by Geneva Hayward on
By: Ryan Howell
ST. JOHN’S (4th North) SYRACUSE (1st North)Overall
36-30-8-2 (0.539) 38-24-7-7 (0.592)
Home 17-15-5-1 23-9-2-4
Road 19-15-3-1 15-15-5-3
Head-to-Head 4-4-0-0 4-1-2-1
PP 19.2% (2nd North) 16.4% (4th North)
PK 80.4% (6th North) 83.7% (2nd North)
The St. John’s IceCaps (4) battle the Syracuse Crunch (1) in the first round of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs. The two clubs battled it out eight times during the regular season, with both teams winning four games each.
The IceCaps enter the series hoping to carry over the momentum from their must-win game against the Toronto Marlies last Saturday at Mile One. The Crunch enter the series on a five-game point streak, going 4-0-1-0 in that span.
Jacob de la Rose 8 GP, 5 G, 3 A, 8 PTS
Max Friberg 8 GP, 2 G, 5 A, 7 PTS
Chris Terry 4 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 6 PTS
Yann Danis 3 GP, 3-0-0, 1.60 GAA, 0.947 SV%
Charlie Lindgren 5 GP, 1-4-0, 4.27 GAA, 0.844 SV%
Cory Conacher 5 GP, 4 G, 7 A, 11 PTS
Matt Taormina 8 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 PTS
Joel Vermin 6 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS
Kristers Gudlevskis 4 GP, 1-1-2, 2.76 GAA, 0.896 SV%
Mike McKenna 1 GP, 0-0-1, 2.92 GAA, 0.903 SV%
PLAYERS TO WATCH
#22 Chris Terry
An AHL Second-Team All-Star, and one of two IceCaps’ representatives at the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic in Allentown, PA, Terry finished second in the American Hockey League in scoring with 68 points in 58 games. He scored a franchise high 30 goals this season, 19 of which came on the power play, where he is one of the most dangerous players in the entire league.
#20 Jacob de la Rose
Often found centering the IceCaps’ shut down line alongside captain Max Friberg and Stefan Matteau, killing penalties, and taking important faceoffs, de la Rose will present the Crunch with a tough task because of his excellent defensive game. He also enters this series on a personal hot streak with six points in seven games in April.
#2 Zach Redmond
The quarterback of the IceCaps’ power play, Redmond enters this series with 18 points in 26 games (12 of which came on the power play), to go along with five assists in 16 games in Montreal. Redmond plays on the top defensive pairing alongside Julien Brouillette, and is expected to be given big minutes against the Crunch’s top line.
#40 Gabriel Dumont
The former IceCaps’ captain during the 2015-16 season spent most of the season in the NHL, playing 40 games with Tampa Bay and will make his return to Newfoundland after missing both trips this season due to either an injury or recall. A proven player at the AHL level who had back-to-back 40 point seasons.
#89 Cory Conacher
The undersized forward is a notorious AHL producer with 213 points in 222 regular season games, including 60 in 56 this season which tied him for the team lead in points. Conacher also has an edge to his game that resulted in 113 penalty minutes this season.
#20 Matt Taormina
The 2016-17 winner of the Eddie Shore Award, given to the AHL’s top defenceman, Taormina set career highs in goals (15), assists (45), and points (60) in 70 games this season, which tied him for first in points among defencemen. Consistently produces against the IceCaps dating back to his days with the Worcester Sharks.
The IceCaps are led by rookie netminder Charlie Lindgren who participated in the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic in Allentown, PA, and was named the team MVP during the season-end awards ceremony. The Lakeville, MN native posted a 24-18-6-1 record to go along with five shutouts. Veteran Yann Danis took on a backup role this season, posting a 11-9-4 record.
Veteran Mike McKenna played many of the games for the Crunch down the stretch after being acquired at the trade deadline by Tampa Bay. Posted a 9-10-7-0 record with Springfield before moving to the Crunch where he went 5-5-3-1. Kristers Gudlevskis appeared in 37 games for the Crunch going 15-10-7-4 in his fourth professional season. The Latvian goaltender has an 0-3 career record in the playoffs.
This is the first time for the Montreal Canadiens farm team to have made the playoffs since the 2010-11 season. The IceCaps have not made the playoffs since the Calder Cup Finals run in 2014 when they were affiliated with the Winnipeg Jets, where current IceCap Zach Redmond played a big role picking up 14 points in 21 games. Chris Terry has 29 games experience in the Calder Cup Playoffs, Bobby Farnham has 26 games, and Yann Danis led his team to Conference Finals appearances in the 2013 and 2015 playoffs.
The Crunch have missed the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, and were swept 3-0 by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the 2015 playoffs. Crunch captain Erik Condra won the Calder Cup in 2011 with the Binghamton Senators, and also has 26 Stanley Cup Playoffs games under his belt. Cory Conacher won the Calder Cup in 2012 with Norfolk and advanced to the Finals in 2015 before losing to Manchester when he was a member of the Utica Comets.