IceCaps Weekend Preview

Tonight the IceCaps open their second season against the Springfield Falcons on the road. From there it’s off to Hartford for the Whale tomorrow afternoon.

Here’s a quick preview of some players to look out for from both clubs. You can also read this post on Arctic Ice Hockey (the Winnipeg Jets’ SB Nation site), where I’ll be posting content throughout the season.

Both the Falcons (Blue Jackets’ affiliate) and Whale (Rangers) were 36-win clubs last season, but Connecticut managed to scrape up more OT and shootout losses and cracked the playoffs before being bounced in the second round by the Calder Cup winning Admirals. The Falcons, on the other hand, went on to finish with 78 points and 11th place in the Conference.

It probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to get too far in to last season and discuss head-to-head match-ups and the like, since the AHL landscape has changed quite drastically.

Instead it’s likely best to look at the opponents at hand and identify some key prospects. The flood of young talent in the league this season makes each team pretty interesting, and these first two have a number of names to look out for.

Springfield Falcons:

2011-12 Stats
Tim Erixon (D) 50GP-3-30-33 (Conn. Whale AHL)
Ryan Johansen 67GP-9-12-21 (CLB NHL)
John Moore 67GP-2-5-7 (CLB NHL)
Jon Audy-Marchessault 70GP-24-40-64 (Conn. Whale AHL)
Austin Madaisky, 70GP-12-37-50 (Kamloops WHL)
Michael Chaput 57GP-21-42-63 (Shawin. QMJHL)
Cam Atkinson* 51GP-29-15-44 (Springfield AHL)

Connecticut Whale:

2011-12 Stats
Chris Kreider* 44GP-23-22-45 (Boston College H-East)
Dylan McIlrath 52GP-3-20-23 (Moose Jaw WHL)
JT Miller 61GP-25-37-62 (Plymouth OHL)
Ryan Bourque 69GP-6-8-14 (Conn. Whale AHL)
Marek Hrivik 54GP-29-41-70 (Moncton QMJHL)
Kyle Jean 39GP-12-12-24 (Lake Superior CCHA)
Matt Gilroy 67GP-3-17-20 (Ott/TBL NHL)
Andrew Yogan 66GP-41-37-78 (Peterborough OHL)

It should be noted that while Kreider and Atkinson punched in most of their time in minor leagues last year, they did spend some valuable time in the NHL. You’ll remember Kreider from the Rangers’ playoff run, where he was a pretty good contributor with 5 goals in 18 games.

As for the IceCaps, like a lot of teams it will be tough to nail down exactly what the lineup will be for opening night ahead of time, but we know how it’ll look for the most part.

We should also keep in mind that the Falcons will play the Adirondack Phantoms on Sunday. The Phantoms will be the first team to visit Mile One this season, in next weekend’s home opener. It’s an early attempt at seeking out some sort of measuring stick, but with all the crazy roster movement, we’ll take what we can get.

Tomorrow night’s game will go at 7:00pm EST in Springfield, with the game in Hartford on Sunday at 3:00pm, as mentioned above. To follow the games, go to thisisnewfoundlandlabrador.ca and join Brian Rogers who has the call. You can also access this radio feed from the IceCaps’ official website.

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