Weekend Preview: IceCaps vs. Sharks
By Chris Doyle
The St. John’s IceCaps get set to welcome the Worcester Sharks Friday and Sunday at Mile One Centre in an Atlantic Division matchup.
The IceCaps sit first in the Atlantic – and first in the Eastern Conference – with 34 points heading into Friday night’s matchup (7:30 p.m.). The game marks the third in four nights for St. John’s, which is coming off a split with the Syracuse Crunch earlier this week.
Tuesday, Jason King had a pair of assists in a four-goal second period as the IceCaps hung on to win 4-3. David Aebischer made 25 saves for his third consecutive win while Zach Redmond scored his second goal of the season, on the powerplay, for the game-winner.
Wednesday, the IceCaps fell in a hole early, trailing 2-0 after one period, and dropped a 5-3 decision to the Crunch. Kyle Palmieri recorded his second hat-trick of the season for Syracuse and jumped into the AHL goal-scoring lead with 17. Aaron Gagnon had a goal and an assist for St. John’s and Eddie Pasquale stopped 30 shots in the loss.
The Sharks, meanwhile, are coming off a three-game weekend that saw them capture five of a possible six points. The Sharks downed the Springfield Falcons and Binghamton Senators Friday and Saturday, respectively, before falling to the Manchester Monarchs in a shootout Sunday afternoon. Matt Irwin is fourth in scoring among defencemen with 16 points and his seven goals are tied for tops at the position. Mike Connolly sits 15th in rookie scoring with 15 points in as many games and leads the team with 10 assists.
The IceCaps and Sharks have met twice this season, both at the DCU Centre in Worcester. On Nov. 1, the IceCaps scored six times en route to a 6-3 victory, led by Kevin Clark’s two goals. Four nights later, Eddie Pasquale made 30 saves and Shawn Weller scored twice, including the game-winner, to lift St. John’s to a 3-1 triumph.
The IceCaps have been affected by a plethora of injuries as of late. Forwards John Albert and Shawn Weller have joined Riley Holzapfel in the infirmary unit, and Jason King’s status is unknown after he left Wednesday night’s game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.
To fill the holes, the IceCaps recalled Tommy Maxwell from Colorado of the ECHL Monday and signed Daniel Koger to a professional tryout contract. St. John’s also received some help from the parent club, as the Winnipeg Jets claimed forward Ben Maxwell off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks and assigned him to the IceCaps. Tommy Maxwell played in both contests versus the Crunch, while Ben Maxwell played in Wednesday’s game, registering two shots on goal and a minus-1 rating. Koger played in Tuesday’s game but was a healthy scratch Wednesday. Blueliner Brett Festerling was also reassigned to St. John’s in time for Wednesday’s game but did not make it onto the score sheet.
Friday night’s tilt begins at 7:30 p.m. while Sunday’s matinee action starts at a 2:00 p.m. Both games, and all 76 contests this season, can be heard live with Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and on the radio on 930 AM This Is Newfoundland Labrador. Pregame show begins a half hour before the drop of the puck.