IceCaps begin road trip in Hamilton, Toronto
By Chris Doyle
The red-hot St. John’s IceCaps invade Southern Ontario this weekend when they face the Hamilton Bulldogs and Toronto Marlies to begin their season-high seven-game road trip.
The IceCaps are winners of four straight games after sweeping a pair of series at home versus the Providence Bruins and Binghamton Senators last week. In their most recent outing last Sunday, the IceCaps tallied three power play goals in a 6-3 drubbing of the Senators. Ben Maxwell had three points, including a pair of goals, while Jason Jaffray also scored twice to tie him with Jason King for the team lead with 15.
Though the offence has clearly been a huge factor in the IceCaps’ success this season – the team ranks third in goals per game at 3.38 – the goaltending and overall team defence has been the catalyst during their recent surge. Eddie Pasquale, who was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for his performance last week, went 3-0 with a 1.32 goals-against average and a 0.954 save percentage and one shutout.
St. John’s will feature a new face in the lineup this weekend after NHL affiliate Winnipeg completed a trade earlier in the week. The Jets acquired centre Maxime Macenauer from the Anaheim Ducks for centre Riley Holzapfel. Macenauer, a third round selection by the Ducks in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, has played in 29 career NHL games, all this season, registering four points (1g, 3a) to go along with 18 penalty minutes. In 13 games with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate Syracuse, the Laval native potted four goals and added two helpers for six points as well as two minutes in penalties.
Friday’s opponent, the Hamilton Bulldogs, is coming off a 2-0 blanking of the Texas Stars that snapped a four-game losing streak. Nathan Lawson stopped 39 shots and Ryan White, since recalled by the Montreal Canadians, scored both goals for the Bulldogs.
Since dropping its home opener to Hamilton back on Oct. 14, St. John’s has won the last three contests by a combined score of 13-3. Their last meeting came on Dec. 28, when David Aebischer stopped 39-of-40 shots in a 3-1 IceCaps triumph.
Saturday, the IceCaps make the short trip to Toronto to take on the North Division leading Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. The Marlies are 5-0-1-0 in their last six games, maintaining an eight point lead over the Lake Erie Monsters.
Toronto is led by veteran Mike Zigomanis, who is enjoying a career year. In 48 games, Zigomanis has recorded 47 points (15g, 32a) and is on pace for a career high 71 points. The Toronto native has notched nine points (1g, 8a) in seven games versus the IceCaps this season.
The IceCaps are 3-3-1-0 against the Marlies this season including a 2-1 mark in games played at Ricoh Coliseum. The last time the two teams met, the IceCaps skated away with a 3-2 at Mile One Centre on Jan. 11.
Catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com or on 930AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show begins a half hour before puck drop.