Trio gets high marks, but looks to contribute more
Line of Macenauer, Cormier and Machacek snakebitten offensively, but McCambridge remains confident in unit
Published on May 11, 2012
Brendan McCarthy, The Telegram
The three-piston engine that is the St. John’s IceCaps’ line of Spencer Machacek, Patrice Cormier and Maxime Macenuer has been revving high in the second round of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoffs. Of that there is no doubt.
But while the line has been consistent in its twoway play ever since it was put together before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal with the Wilkes- Barre/Scranton Penguins, only Macenauer has produced a goal in the last three games of the series.
They’ll be looking to change that tonight in Game 6 of the best-of-seven series at Mile One Centre, where the IceCaps get a second chance at a win that will advance them to the next round. They lead the series 3-2 after a 3-2 double overtime loss to the Penguins Tuesday night in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
We’re generating chances. Now we need to generate goals, said Machacek, who has six assists, but no tallies through nine playoff games this spring.
In the playoffs, we know it’s harder to score goals and we all take pride in our defensivezone play, but we definitely want to contribute more (offensively). So we’ve put that onus on ourselves.
After Tuesday’s game, St. John’s head coach Keith McCambridge said he was considering some adjustments to the forward lines in an effort to produce more offence, but won’t be making any changes to the unit centred by Cormier.
I like that line. It’s been really effective, said McCambridge Thursday after an IceCaps practice at Mile One. They’re strong on forecheck, creating turnovers and generating chances.
I think it’s just a matter of time for them. For example, on Tuesday, Macenauer hadwhat looked to be a first-period marker waved off when a linesman insisted the puck was kicked in (the IceCaps disagreed then and still do).
And we had another real good chance late in the third and one where Mach had a shot that just hit the goalie’s glove and went wide, said Cormier, who scored twice in a first-round series win over Syracuse, but doesn’t have a point in the first five games of this series.
We talk about it. We talked about it this morning, said Cormier on Thursday. We’re trying to be strong defensively and I think we’re doing the job there. Offensively, we’re working on it. We want to produce more that’s for sure. We want to be difference-makers at both ends of the ice.
In a development that would make Christopher Walken’s Saturday Night Live character Bruce Dickinson happy, word is that Grant Maddigan, the member of the IceCaps’ game-day crew who runs up and down the aisle in section 117 clanking a cowbell during games,will be back tonight and it appearshe’ll have some clanking support.
During the last playoff home game, Maddigan’s cowbelling was abbreviated, apparently after an encounter with an objecting fan. However, word on the social media is that a number of people in the section will be bringing their own cowbells to tonight’s contest and that local sales of the instrument have spiked.
As for Maddigan, a piece on IceCaps TV on the team’s official website seems to suggest he will definitely be back tonight. Go to stjohnsicecaps. com or the team’s Facebook site to see the report by Colin Fardy, the club’s digital media coordinator. Or you can use the following link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_ embedded&v=r_FG8F69K0I
And if you don’t know Walken’s Dickinson character and the famous SNL More Cowbell sketch, do yourself a favour and Google that, too.
From the rink to the ring
As the AHL’s Penguins’ assistant equipment manager, Josh Richards is constantly wrestling with the team’s gear as they travel on the road. But Richards’ wrestling won’t stop whenever Wilkes-Barre’s season ends. That’s when Richards turns into Head The IceCrusher, his wrestling alter ego. Head is in reference to his prominent noggin, while the rest is in reference to his regular job. His signature moveis known as The Headliner.
Richards partners up with Ritch Howe to form The Westies, a tag-team duo that wrestles and has won belts in regional circuits in Pennsylvania and neighbouring states. The red-headed Richards also has plans for another tag team known as Ginger Nation.
A high school baseball player, Richards got into wrestling for fun, but began to take it moreseriously after studying for six months with former WWF star Tom Rumsby, better known to wrestling fans as The Executioner. Search YouTube The Westies + wrestling to get a look at Richards (he’s the taller guy) and Howe.
Comedian/actor and sometimes sportscaster Gerry Dee has offered the IceCaps an incentive for a Game 6 win: tickets to his Saturday-night show at Holy Heart Theatre.
Of course, for the IceCaps to take advantage,they’ll need to avoid having the series with the Penguins go to a Game 7 Saturday night at Mile One.
Here’s a Twitter exchange between Dee and injured IceCaps captain Jason Jaffray, who will behind the bench as part of the St. John’s coaching staff tonight:
From Dee: @IceCapsAHL Good luck Friday. After you win, come by my show on Saturday. Tickets for the team! From Jaffray: @gerrydee The Icecaps boys would love to come to your show Saturday! But we need a big win tomorrow night first. Mile One will be rocking!