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Weekend Preview: IceCaps tangle with Sharks, Monarchs Posted by IceCaps on

Friday, Dec. 27
ICECAPS (15-11-1-2, 33 PTS | 3rd Place, Atlantic) AT SHARKS (12-11-1-1, 26 PTS | 5th Place, Atlantic)
Puck Drop: 9:00 PM NT | Watch: AHL Live | Listen: stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM

Klingberg spray (994)

The St. John’s IceCaps return to the ice again on Friday and Saturday after a 12-day Christmas break to face a pair of division rivals, the Worcester Sharks and Manchester Monarchs, as they prepare to wrap up 2013.

The month of December has been kind to the IceCaps as they posted four wins and two losses in six games.

The IceCaps haven’t played since a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum on Dec. 15.

IceCaps forward Eric O’Dell enjoyed the team’s recent road trip through Southern Ontario as he is currently riding a three-game point streak in which he put up one goal and four assists to give him 29 points so far this season, good for a tie for fifth place in American Hockey League scoring. His hard work and strong play didn’t go unnoticed by the IceCaps parent club, the Winnipeg Jets, as O’Dell earned a callup on Dec. 17.

LAST GAME:
The St. John’s IceCaps struck first but were unable to hold the lead as the Toronto Marlies surged to a 3-2 victory over the IceCaps at Ricoh Coliseum on Dec. 15.

After the teams skated to a scoreless opening frame, IceCaps rookie rearguard Brenden Kichton opened the scoring and beat Marlies goaltender Drew MacIntyre with his sixth goal of the season at the 5:04 mark of the second period.

The Marlies’ Brad Ross notched his third goal of the year on the power play in the last minute of the second period to tie the game heading into the final frame.

With Toronto’s Josh Leivo in the box for hooking during the opening minute of the third period, the Marlies’ Carter Ashton scored a shorthanded goal just under two minutes into the period to give Toronto its first lead of the night.

Andrew Gordon’s tenth goal of the year just over four minutes later tied the game for the IceCaps but Toronto’s David Broll scored the eventual game winner less than two minutes later as the IceCaps were unable to beat MacIntyre throughout the rest of the period. Both Gordon and Kichton finished the game with two points apiece.

MacIntyre earned first star honours for his 31-save performance, while the newly recalled Michael Hutchinson started his first game of the season for the IceCaps and made 17 saves in taking the loss. | HIGHLIGHTS

ICECAPS NOTES

NOTES FROM LAST GAME: Not dressed: Cody Lampl, Jordan Hill, Josh Lunden, Eddie Pasquale, Travis Ehrhardt, Austen Brassard… St. John’s went 0-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill… Brenden Kichton extended his point streak to four games (2G, 4A during that span)…  Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Drew MacIntyre 2. Carter Ashton 3. Brenden Kichton. Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Kyle Mackinnon.

INJURY UPDATE: Josh Lunden (undisclosed)

TRANSACTIONS:
Dec. 26: Julian Melchiori (D) recalled from loan by Winnipeg (NHL) Dec. 18:  John Albert (C) Returned on loan from Winnipeg (NHL) Dec. 17: Eric O’Dell (C) Recalled from loan by Winnipeg (NHL) Dec 15:  Michael Hutchinson (G) Reassigned by Winnipeg (NHL) to Ontario (ECHL). Travis Ehrhardt (D) Released from PTO. Dec. 13: Michael Hutchinson (G) Reassigned by Winnipeg (NHL) from Ontario (ECHL).

IceCaps leading scorer Eric O’Dell’s hard work and strong play this season has caught the attention of the Winnipeg Jets, earning him a callup to the big club on Dec. 17. To date, O’Dell has yet to register a point in four games played and has recorded four penalty minutes and two shots on goal… IceCaps rookie defenceman Brenden Kichton has not only taken over second place in team scoring, he is quickly gaining ground in the American Hockey League scoring race. To date, he is leading the league in rookie defenseman scoring with 22 points in 29 games played, also good for fourth place in overall league defenceman scoring, just five points behind Toronto’s TJ Brennan. His 22 points places him just outside the top 30 in overall league scoring… Notching the first goal of the game and holding early leads are crucial for all teams in the league and the IceCaps are no exception. The IceCaps boast an impressive 8-1-0-1 record when holding a lead after the opening period and hold an equally-impressive 11-1-0-1 record when leading after two periods. By comparison, the IceCaps hold a losing record when tied after one (4-6-0-1), tied after two (3-3-0-1), when trailing after one (3-4-1-0) and when trailing after two (1-7-1-0).

PREVIOUS MATCHUPS:
Despite holding down last place in the Atlantic Division, the Worcester Sharks have had the IceCaps’ number so far this season.

In four games against the Sharks, the IceCaps have registered just one win and scored just six goals against goaltenders Harri Sateri and Troy Grosenick.

The Sharks collected a 3-0 victory in the two teams’ lone game in Worcester this season on Nov. 2. The next three games in St. John’s all needed extra time to settle the score. Jerome Samson scored the OT winner in a 3-2 IceCaps victory on Nov. 13. The teams’ next two games both resulted in Sharks shootout victories, a 3-2 win on Nov. 15 and a 2-1 victory on Nov. 16.

HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS:
STJ: Jerome Samson 4 PTS (4G) | Andrew Gordon 4 PTS (1G, 3A) | Eddie Pasquale (1-1-1, 1.95 GAA, .923 SV%)
WCR: Daniil Tarasov 3 PTS (2G, 1A) | Brodie Reid 3 PT (1G, 2A) | Harri Sateri (2-0-0, 1.38 GAA, 0.944 SV%)

RECENT ACTION: DEC 22: HER 4 WOR 0 | Hershey Bears’ forward Josh Brittain’s first period goal was all the Bears needed as they walked over the Worcester Sharks 4-0 at the Giant Center on Dec. 22.

John Mitchell’s first of the game early in the second period pushed Hershey’s lead to two. The Bears struck again early in the third period as Nicolas Deschamps netted his eighth goal of the season. Mitchell scored a shorthanded goal into the empty net with 3:30 left in the game to end the scoring as well as Worcester’s two-game winning streak.

Hershey’s starting goaltender David Leggio stole the show, making 44 saves for the victory. Worcester’s Harri Sateri stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced in a losing effort.

TRANSACTIONS: Dec. 13: Freddie Hamilton (C) Returned on loan from San Jose (NHL) Dec. 12: Dan DaSilva (RW) Released from PTO

Saturday, Dec. 28
ICECAPS (14-10-1-2, 33 PTS | 3rd Place, Atlantic) AT MONARCHS (21-5-1-4, 47 PTS | 1st Place, Atlantic)

Puck Drop: 8:30 PM NT | Watch: AHL Live | Listen: stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM

PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: The Manchester Monarchs may be leading the American Hockey League with 47 points but the St. John’s IceCaps have seen success against the league’s top team thus far this season. The two teams have split four games this season. The IceCaps picked up a 3-2 victory on Oct. 25 but dropped the next contest the following day 5-3. The teams again split a two-game set in November, as St. John’s exploded for five goals in a 5-2 victory at Mile One Centre on Nov. 8 but Manchester squeaked out a 3-2 victory on Nov. 9.

Both teams may be missing key players as the teams prepare to face off. IceCaps forward Eric O’Dell has amassed seven points in four games against Manchester this season, but is currently with the team’s parent club in Winnipeg. Manchester’s Tyler Toffoli scored two goals and added two helpers in just a pair of games against the IceCaps this season and goaltender Martin Jones started all four games against the IceCaps, but both players are currently on recall with the Los Angeles Kings.

HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS:
STJ: (x) Eric O’Dell 7 PTS (1G, 6A) | Kael Mouillierat 5 PTS (3G, 2A) | Eddie Pasquale (2-1-0, 2.34 GAA)
MCR: Jordan Weal 5 PTS (5A) | (x) Tyler Toffoli 4 PTS (2G, 2A) | (x) Martin Jones (2-2-0, 3.27 GAA)

RECENT ACTION: DEC 21: MCR 2 BRI 1 | Goaltender Jean-Francois Berube stood tall and made 30 saves as the Monarchs held on to defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-1 from Webster Bank Arena on Dec. 21.

Brandon Kozun opened the scoring with his seventh goal of the season at 14:43 of the second period and Jordan Weal pushed the lead to two with his eighth of the season early in the third period. Bridgeport’s Scooter Vaughan cut the deficit to one with his first of the year at 8:26 of the third period but Berube was strong between the pipes down the stretch to secure the victory.

TRANSACTIONS:
Dec. 26: Mathias Niederberger (G) Recalled from loan to Ontario (ECHL). Dec. 19: Linden Vey (C) Returned on loan from Los Angeles (NHL).

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