The IceCaps are coming off a wild 8-7 victory last night against the Portland Pirates, where Alexander Burmistrov was the overtime savior with his first goal of the season. Today we have a few stories covering the game, as well as some other notes from around the AHL, including some that focus on upcoming opponents.
Game 2 between the IceCaps and Pirates goes at 7:30 tonight at Mile One. Listen on the radio at ThisIsNL.
Two weeks into what is still a young regular season, the St. John’s IceCaps’ are an even 2-2-0-0, tying them for second place in the Atlantic Division with the Providence Bruins. The IceCaps’ now set their sights on the Portland Pirates, whom they host for back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Thankfully, I have tickets four rows off the glass for these guys, which is exciting since Oliver Ekman-Larsson (who’s already up to 5 points in three games) will be on the ice for the Pirates. Considered one of the best upcoming defensemen in the NHL, watching OEL head-man Portland’s defensive unit should be a treat to watch. And he isn’t alone; the Pirates will also dress David Rundblad, Maxim Goncharov and Brandon Gormley to patrol the blue line. That’s an awful lot of young talent.
The IceCaps are 2-2-0-0 after splitting another pair of games over the weekend with the Adirondack Phantoms, a team that included some pretty significant names like Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier, among other Philadelphia Flyers’ regulars.
I watched most of the first game (Friday) at home on television, but took in Saturday night’s game at Mile One Centre, so, like last week, a lot of notes may be more so geared toward the second tilt.
Here are a few things I noticed (feel free to disagree):
- Pasquale was obviously outstanding in Friday night’s home opener, turning away 32 of 33 Phantoms’ shots. Before allowing the go-ahead and sealing goals on Saturday night, I was telling a friend of mine how his movement looked much more fluid and controlled compared to last season. I’m no expert on goaltending (or anything really) but it’s pretty obvious that Pasquale has tightened up his game, I’m guessing due to some good work in the off-season. Though, I am puzzled as to why he started both games, especially with the IceCaps playing again on Tuesday and Wednesday. Pasquale let in two late on Saturday, one of which was a squeaker from a bad angle from Schenn, and I can’t help but think it was related to pouring in that 32 save effort only 24 hours before. Pasquale has a .908 through three starts, which doesn’t mean much, but he needs to be used properly or his numbers are going to suffer. Dekanich should have started on Saturday.
- Zach Redmond is shooting a lot so far. He put five on goal in each game over the weekend, including a goal on Saturday, and has 18 shots on net so far this season, good for most on the team. Burmistrov is closest with 11.
- It’s no trouble to see Telegin has raw talent, and what I assume is the most upside of anyone on the team. I probably sound like a broken record, but these prospects like Scheifele, Telegin, and even others I’ve noticed from opposing teams (Etem, Kadri, etc) are my favorites to watch. They have that “Whoa who’s this guy?” factor when they pick up the puck or enter the play, and most AHL players don’t have that. A year of AHL practices and games will do this guy wonders, I think. Telegin picked up his first goal of the season Saturday, and is third on the team in shots with nine through four games.
- Burmistrov had a solid game on Saturday, with six shots on net and an assist, which gained him 2nd star honors. Though, honestly I didn’t think he stood out as much as in other games. I thought he looked better last weekend when I watched on television. I’ll try to focus on him a little more on Wednesday when I’m down in the bowl for the Pirates game.
- The IceCaps have only accumulated 47 penalty minutes through four games, the lowest total in the league. They’re also a pretty boring club on the whole, but draw your own conclusions there. The lack of hitting in the beginning of Saturday’s game had the crowd sleeping, though Cormier was out and he’s often one to get that ball rolling.
- The IceCaps’ powerplay went 1/9 on the weekend, the penalty kill at 8/9.
- Klingberg was hurt in practice last week and did not suit up for either game against the Phantoms. I haven’t seen any details emerge yet
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This morning we have a number of links covering the Adirondack Phantoms, who will be the first club to visit Mile One this season when they make their way here on Friday.
There are a few others in there as well, including some information on the new proposal from the NHL to its’ players, which, if all goes well, should get the NHL back on track. The downside, of course, being that the current crop of young talent in the AHL will be greatly diminished. Players like Sean Couturier (pictured above) and Brayden Schenn, who will be here this weekend, could be on their way back to their big clubs as early as October 25th.
It was the first weekend of AHL action, and the IceCaps managed to get a split in the win/loss columns to kick off the new season. After dropping their season opener 4-2 to the Springfield Falcons on Saturday night, the team rebounded with a 3-2 win over the Whale in Hartford a day later.
I managed to take in more of Saturday night’s game than the afternoon tilt on Sunday, and here are a few notes:
- Klingberg looks to have improved his skating since last season. I don’t know if I’d have called him a “sloppy” skater before, but he does look craftier on his skates and definitely more powerful. He’s said he wants to drive to the net more this season, and it looks like he’s taking the right steps to doing just that.
- Pasquale was great in game one, as was Dekanich in game two. The IceCaps were said to be good between the pipes, and they’ll have to be. Pasquale did allow four in the first game, but he looked to be in form, so his numbers should be alright as we get in to bigger sample size.
- I wasn’t too impressed with the blue line, but again mostly what I viewed was game one, so maybe someone can correct me on that. We’ll get a better chance to assess it next week when Couturier, Schenn and the Phantoms are in town to put some heat on them, followed by what looks to be a stacked blue line in Portland for comparison. Also, we’ll see if Postma gets back in to the lineup to settle things down.
- Burmistrov is the real deal. Easily the most skilled on the team, as was expected. He picked up two assists on the powerplay in the win against the Whale.
- I’d heard that Macenauer looked pretty good in preseason, and while I didn’t watch him too much, he did get on the board with his first goal of the season on Sunday. I do recall him making a brutal clearing play in the first game that resulted in a Springfield powerplay marker, though. Either way, someone to keep an eye on.
- Machacek is off to a good start with three points (1G, 2A) already.
- The IceCaps’ powerplay was 3 for 12 on the weekend, with the penalty kill at only 7 for 11 (64%). Again, sample size.
- Telegin looked alright, but sort of off and on, much like Scheifele was last season when joining the Caps. Telegin did manage to grab his first assist though, on Sunday against Connecticut.
- The IceCaps were outshot 70-50 on the weekend — 33-25 and 37-25 against Springfield and Connecticut, respectively.
The IceCaps’ next game goes against Adirondack this Friday, in the team’s home opener. It’s the beginning of a six game home stand for St. John’s that will see them play pairs of games against Portland and Norfolk as well.
You can also view this recap at Arctic Ice Hockey.
The puck has dropped to start the IceCaps’ second regular season. The team is in Springfield to face the Falcons, and here is the announced line-up. Note the injuries to Albert and Postma who did not join the team on the road.
Pasquale (starter), Dekanich
Scratched: Ramsey, O’Dell, Sutherby, Whitmore
Injured: Postma, Jaffray, Albert, Schnell, Kaunista