Kadri stings IceCaps, Marlies take weekend pair

Photo: stjohnsicecaps.com

It was a disappointing Saturday night for IceCaps fans, as their home team failed to respond to a Friday night loss to the Toronto Marlies, pouring in one of their worst efforts of the season. The Marlies took the second of the pair of games 6-3, and controlled most of the game throughout. The entire gamesheet can be found here.

Edward Pasquale will take heat for allowing six goals on only 26 shots, but the IceCaps were badly out-chanced, save for a couple decent opportunities in the second period (one of which Jussii Rynnas had to make a spectacular save).

The focus for many IceCaps fans was the Marlies’ Nazem Kadri. A lot of Leafs fans were in the building, and the torn crowd traded jeers and barbs back and forth, but all in good taste (I think.) Kadri responded to the heckling by potting another goal in last night’s win, giving him five points over the weekend.

It basically boiled down to the fact that the IceCaps’ blueline couldn’t really handle the Marlies’ game down low and allowed Kadri, among others, to control the puck and cycle for extended periods.

For the IceCaps, Marco Rosa continues to be arguably the best player in the lineup. With another two points and five shots on goal, his play was a bright spot for the Caps despite the loss. He currently leads the team with 18 points (5G-13A).

Though the IceCaps don’t seem to play the most physical game, I was particularly puzzled when they failed to respond to a lot of the rough stuff the Marlies were dishing out. A few hits were impressive, but after Kyle Neuber obliterated Cormier near the IceCaps bench, there was literally no response. Someone remind me why Garth Murray is in the lineup?

The IceCaps will have a chance to get back at the Marlies at the Ricoh next Sunday, as they travel to Hamilton and Toronto for a pair of games before returning home for another four game stint.

Email ryanfancey@gmail.com and follow on twitter here and here

IceCaps and Marlies gear up for second meeting

theahl.com

With the high profile Toronto Marlies in town to face off against the IceCaps, this place has been abuzz for most of this past week. A lot of eyes were on Nazem Kadri heading into last night’s game, and how the IceCaps would deal with him – apparently not very well.

Kadri poured in four points to help lead the Marlies to an overtime win, assisting on Jeff Finger’s game winner at 4:31 into the extra frame to cap off a two-and-two night.

The IceCaps will look to contain him tonight, much like they did against Cory Conacher of the Admirals last week. In the second of the pair against Norfolk, the Caps used Garth Murray to agitate and effectively shut down Conacher after he gave St. John’s headaches the night before.

St. John’s will likely employ a similar gameplan tonight to deal with Kadri and the Marlies. If they allow him to stay hot, it could be a long night.

Luckily for Caps fans, they’ve yet to drop two straight yet this season, so the odds of a bounce-back are pretty solid.

Pasquale could get the start tonight with Mannino taking the loss on Friday. Mark Owuya nabbed the win for the Marlies, so we could see Jussii Rynnas take over between the pipes tonight.

Game goes at 7:30 at Mile One Centre and can be heard at http://thisisnewfoundlandlabrador.ca with Brian Rogers on play-by-play

Meet the new b’ys, same as the old b’ys

Editor’s note: Sorry for the brief hiatus. Life.

It’s been nearly 20 years since the AHL first took this city by storm with the inaugural season of the St. John’s Maple Leafs. That same season the Leafs went on to lose in the finals of the AHL playoffs marking the closest this city has even come to winning the Calder Cup. The Leafs era in St. John’s lasted 14 seasons and during that time we had managed to see our fair share of prospects turn into NHL regulars (and even a few stars) until the team left in 2005 and relocated to Toronto.

This weekend that team comes back to St John’s. Sure, the faces, names and personnel have all changed since the, but it will be a symbolic event at Mile One this weekend when the Toronto Marlies come to town.

Right now the Marlies sit atop the North division with 23 points, posting a 10-5-2 record. However, some big names who helped get the Marlies there will not be joining the team to St John’s this Friday as promising prospects Joe Colborne and Joey Crabb have been enjoying some time with the Marlies’ parent club, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Colborne and Crabb are atop the roster in terms of points, with 19 and 15 respectively.

For Leafs fans across the island, some familiar faces tear into town on Friday night including some Leaf regulars from last season like Darryl Boyce, Keith Aulie, Mike Zigomanis, and everybody’s favourite Jeff Finger. But no doubt all eyes will be on the Leafs’ 2009 first round pick Nazem Kadri who has been slow to start the season, posting just one goal.

The IceCaps will be looking to continue their domination of the Atlantic Division this weekend. Realistically, looking at the standings, even a split will put up two big padding points. Their record currently sits at an outstanding 12-3-3 and they hold two games in hand on the Manchester Monarchs. The IceCaps will look to some character players for big time offense this weekend, with a few key roster guys like Jaffray and Kulda still playing with the parent club Jets.

Heading into this weekend’s games it shouldn’t be a big mystery who’s going to split the games between the pipes. Though Pasquale and Mannino are the safe bet, it remains to be seen if veteran netminder David Aebischer will earn another start in net after some disappointing outings in recent memory.

Goalies Mark Owuya and Jussi Rynnas should split starts over the weekend for the Marlies.

Like most home games, puck drop is at 7:30 PM NL time at Mile One Centre (both Friday and Saturday night). You can also catch the action by listening live over at theahl.com or thisisNL

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Whale of a Weekend: IceCaps go undefeated against Connecticut

After a quick turnaround from Saturday night’s throttling of the Connecticut Whale, the St. John’s IceCaps took to the ice at Mile One this afternoon for their first early start on home ice this season.

The Caps started off rather sluggish in the first period and remained trapped in their own zone for much of it.

Going into this afternoon’s game I expected the absence of Artus Kulda to have a big impact, however both Travis Ramsey and Zach Redmon logged some serious ice-time and played great games. Both players made their minutes count and played an impressive physical game.

After doing some running around in their own zone, the puck found John Mitchell in the slot who made no mistake and buried it. Mitchell picked up right where he left off last night, putting up his 3rd goal in 2 games.

The Whale followed Mitchell’s goal with a goal by Tommy gran,t making it a 2-0 game.It looked like they were getting ready to run away with the game until Stu Bickel went off on a tripping call. The ensuing powerplay for the IceCaps resulted in a goal from an unlikely source; Bushee posted his first goal of the season getting the IceCaps within one.

After the Bushee goal the IceCaps looked like they got their legs back from last night, but on the next shift Whale forward Carl Hagelin put the puck in the net in a rather unconventional way. Hagelin, who had been going to the net hard all weekend, was rewarded with a goal that he deflected in off his face, paying the ultimate price for that insurance marker. And just like that it was a 3-1 game again.

Shortly after the Hagelin goal, the Whale broke what I always believe is the cardinal rule when it comes to fighting in hockey, and mixed it up with a two goal lead. Bickel stirred things wwith IceCaps defensemen Travis Ramsey after going to Mannino hard. Ramsey said he’ll basically have none of that and they had an exchange. Even though Ramsey got the worst of the altercation, the IceCaps came out flying that next shift and not long after were rewarded a late period goal from the stick of vet Jason King. King’s 6th goal of the season came off of a feed from Rosa with just 50 seconds left of the first period

The IceCaps started the 2nd period a much more focused group and had to rely on the penalty kill early on as Travis Ramsey went off for tripping. As inconsistent as the IceCaps PP has been at times, the PK totally owns up for it and did a great job killing that one off. Quickly after the PK ended, IceCaps’ forward Jason King potted his 7th of the season and 2nd of the game, tying the gam. After the King goal the IceCaps had a few chances on the PP but couldn’t get the go ahead goal out of it. The Whale PK not only did a great job, they also exposed one of the weaknesses in the IceCaps’ powerplay, picking off a few D-to-D passes and skating it in for a solid chance, none of which resulted in a goal thankfully.

In the 3rd period IceCaps relied heavily on goaltender Peter Mannino. Making his first start since returning to St John’s after a brief call up to the Winnipeg Jets, Mannino was under fire for much of the game, but did a great job keeping them in it when the Whale put up scoring chance after scoring chance. Just when fans were eyeing the clock and thinking overtime, Garth Murray found Eric O’Dell for his 2nd of the season giving the IceCaps their first lead in the game with just 3 minutes remaining on the clock.

The Whale had one last chance on the PP to end the game as Zach Redmon, who played a great physical game this afternoon, found himself in the sin bin for cross checking. The Whale PP got a few chances on IceCaps netminder Mannino, and went hard to the net the whole time, but were denied. With a handful of seconds left Mannino made an innocent enough play tying up a player but refs ruled it interference. With only 4 seconds left on the clock, the Whale attempt hardly seems worth mentioning, and the IceCaps closed out the weekend out picking up wins in both games.

One interesting thing I picked up on tonight’s game was the ability that the Whale team had putting shots on net, and by my count it is the first game the IceCaps have been outshot on home ice. The final countcame in at 38 shots for the Whale and 27 for the IceCaps, but goaltender Mannino did a great job keeping his team in it just long enough for those late 3rd period heroics.

Another thing worth noting is that even though there was a noticeable increase in empty seats, this marked the eigth consecutive sell out of the season for the IceCaps. Great to see.

The IceCaps have a lengthy break before facing the Norfolk Admirals on Friday and it’s yet to be seen if some of the current call ups with the Jets will be returned by then.

As always you can catch the game online at theahl.com or at the St John’s Icecaps official site.

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Kulda and Jaffray recalled to Jets

From the Winnipeg Free Press:

It’ll be made official later today — the Winnipeg Jets will be recalling some more help from their AHL farm team in St. John’s.

Forward Jason Jaffray, captain of the St. John’s IceCaps, and defenceman Arturs Kulda are on their way to Winnipeg and could both be in the lineup Monday night at the MTS Centre when the Jets face the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m., CT, TSN Jets, 1290).

The IceCaps have shown that they can deal with losing key players, so let’s hope they can continue that trend. It won’t be easy.

Neither will be in the Caps’ lineup for today’s game against the Whale, which goes at 4:00 NL time at Mile One Centre.

Recap: A Whale of a game

The Connecticut Whale headed into tonight’s game atop the Northeast division with a 7-3-1 record – it doesn’t take a hockey expert to realize they are no joke. They’re equipped with firepower up front from guys like John Mitchell, not to mention a steady blue line featuring former NHL constant Wade Redden.

The IceCaps started out with a quick goal from captain Jason Jaffray a little over a minute in, then followed up with some steady zone time and a few solid scoring chances. Later in the frame Jason DeSantis potted his 3rd of the season. After spending much of last season demoted to ECHL it’s nice to see DeSantis making an impact here in St John’s. The guy goes to the messy areas, and more times than not comes out with the puck.

After the DeSantis goal the Whale really got things going with some solid zone time and a goal from John Mitchell to get them within one. Midway through the first the Whale players started really going hard to the net, even running net minder Pasquale a few times. Because of this, defenseman Ben Chariot mixed it up Jordan Owens of the Whale. The refs rang up Chariot with four minutes for roughing and let Owens away with 2. The Whale team before and after that fight were two polar opposites, and they made short work of the PP with John Mitchell scoring a goal from Kris Newbury (remember those names Leafs Fans) to tie it at 2.

Later in the first both teams exchanged goals from Redmon and Erixon setting us up for a 3-3 tie heading into the intermission. The Whale jumped to a quick lead in the 2nd and kept the puck locked into the IceCaps end for most of the 2nd when one of the more interesting plays happened inside the Mile One this season; a member of the Whale team took IceCaps forward Patrice Cormier hard into the boards, CRUSHING a pane of glass. The result was some shaken up fans in section 116 and a million tiny pieces of glass spilling onto the ice.

Because of the lengthy cleanup on the ice the game’s 2nd intermission was taken with 4:20 second left to the 2nd period. When the IceCaps returned they had much more spring to their step and some gold in their sticks. Netting 5 consecutive goals, Jaffray found his 6th and 7th to complete the Hat Trick while Klingberg found his 8th of the season. Role players Cormier and Rosa also found the score sheet.

The IceCaps landed an impressive 41 shots on net and even netted a powerplay goal late in the 3rd.

With tonight’s game wrapping up there’s a very quick turn around to the next meeting between these two teams. They’ll will square off tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 PM, which is likely to be Peter Mannino’s first start since his brief call up situation with the Jets earlier this month. No guesses who gets the nod between the pipes between Johnson or Talbot for the Whale tomorrow afternoon, after both goalies let a few pucks past them.

The IceCaps will look to keep this ball rollin’ and continue to put up more points to stay atop of the AHL. Meanwhile the Whale will be out to prove that tonight’s 8-4 defeat is nothing to be proud of, as they try to get over the hump here in St John’s.

Be sure to catch the game live or online at theahl.com or the IceCaps official website.

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Game Day: IceCaps v. Whale

The IceCaps return to home ice tonight when Wade Redden and the Connecticut Whale visit Mile One Centre for a weekend pair.

The Whale will look to avenge a 6-3 loss to the IceCaps last week, while St. John’s were completing their lengthy road trip. By racking up a 4-0-2 record along the way, the IceCaps moved to the top of the Eastern Conference, but the Whale are right there at their heels.

With 21 points, the Caps have the highest total in the league (tied with the Aeros), while the Whale are on a similar pace, posting 17 points in only 12 games (two in hand on the IceCaps).

Notables for the Whale include former All Star NHL’er and salary cap victim Wade Redden (way to go Sather), former Leafs John Mitchell and Kris Newbury, and rookie Jonathan Audy-Marchessaut who leads the team with 11 points. Audy-Marchessaut is a small centre who enters the league after a successful QMJHL career.

Defenceman Tim Erixon will also be in the Whale lineup. Fans may recognize him for being the guy who the Calgary Flames couldn’t sign prior to the entry draft, and were forced to trade his rights to the Rangers. He’s a top-flight prospect.

Edward Pasquale gets the start between the pipes for the IceCaps.

Game goes at 7:30 local NL time. Brian Rogers has the call at ThisIsNL

Aebischer falters, but IceCaps wrap up successful road trip

Ten of a possible 12 points. Tough to ask for any better than that for the IceCaps, who will return home after a six game road trip which wrapped up in Bridgeport this evening.

The IceCaps used a pair of wins against the Worcester Sharks (last night) and Sound Tigers to finish the trip with a 4-0-2 record, and in doing so, pushed themselves to the top of the league once again with 21 points. The Houston Aeros, with 19, will face the Toronto Marlies this evening as well.

Edward Pasquale was forced to enter the game tonight after a shaky performance from David Aebischer (3 goals on 13 shots) early in the second period. Pasquale held things down between the pipes, stopping 12 of 12, and nabbing the 4-3 win – his fifth of the season. In fact, Pasquale has yet to lose and is currently riding a .935 Sv% and 1.75 goals-against average, leading a lot of folks to question whether keeping Aebischer around is the right move.

Marco Rosa and Captain Jason Jaffray had solid outings this evening as well, both collecting two points apiece. Rosa had a goal and an assist while Jaffray nabbed two apples. Chiarot, Holzapfel and DeSantis scored the other goals for the IceCaps.

Looking at the IceCaps’ stats, Rosa has taken the team lead in points with eleven in 14 games, while Klingberg, Holzapfel, Jaffray and Machacek each have nine.

The IceCaps now move on to face the Connecticut Whale on home ice next weekend. The Whale have been right at their heels in terms of the East Standings, so to say next weekends’ pair of games are important is an understatement. Look for plenty of talk surrounding the team this week, but also a fair amount of questions surrounding Aebischer and where he fits in to the whole scheme.

Email ryanfancey@gmail.com and follow on twitter here and here

IceCaps look to keep winning on the road

Sharks and Sound Tigers, the last two matchups for the IceCaps on this current road swing

In what started off as a rough road trip for the IceCaps after dropping two straight overtime games, things have now turned themselves around to tell a different story.

During this road swing the Caps have yet to be defeated in regulation, and thanks to a pair of wins against the Worcester Sharks (also tonight’s opponent) and Connecticut Whale, the team has moved to 7-2-3 on the season. The IceCaps dropped the Whale 6-3 last night to move into first in the East.

Another win tonight would keep St. John’s right at the top of the heap, as they only trail Houston by two points for the league lead. Wrapping up this road trip with a strong outing tonight against the Sharks and tomorrow against Bridgeport could go a long way in keeping the rest of the division (and perhaps conference) chasing for a while.

After potting his seventh goal of the season last night, perhaps Carl Klingberg is set to run wild again – he’s been scoring in bunches so far this season. Out-shooting the opposition has been key to the IceCaps’ success, and if they continue to do so, Klingberg among others will continue to reap the benefits offensively.

The team has been raided by the Jets for defencemen in the past few days, with Festerling and Flood heading to the big league, along with Paul Postma (the team’s leading scorer) more recently. Jake Marto and Kyle Bushee have been recalled from the ECHL to fill the roster – how long they’ll be sticking around is up in the air.

Despite missing call-ups, the IceCaps look to have the depth to contend in this league. Right now they’ve nabbed six of a possible eight points on this trip, and a split in these last two would mark this six game outing as a major success.

Game time tonight is 8:30 Newfoundland time. Brian Rogers has the call online at thisisnewfoundlandlabrador.ca, and you can also follow the action and find official gamesheets at TheAHL.com

Enjoy