11/14 IceCaps Weekly
High octane offence the catalyst for weekend sweep
Coming off four straight victories on the road, the IceCaps continued their momentum on home ice this past weekend, sweeping the two game series against the Connecticut Whale at Mile One Centre.
On Saturday night, in front of a hockey game record 6,503 fans at Mile One, the IceCaps scored eight times in a wild 8-4 win. Captain Jason Jaffray provided nearly half the offence, scoring three times for St. John's. His final marker came in the closing minute of the third period after he redirected a shot past Whale goaltender Chad Johnson. IceCaps goalie Eddie Pasquale picked up his sixth win of the season to stay a perfect 6-0-0.
The game certainly entertained the fans in attendance. In addition to Jaffray's hat trick -- the second on home ice this year by an IceCaps player -- fans experienced a penalty shot (by the Whale's Carl Hagelin, who roofed a backhander) and a shattered pane of glass, which sent both teams to the dressing room early for the second intermission.
Sunday's game was much closer and was dominated by the Whale in the early going. Connecticut started fast and built up a two-goal lead in the first period, but the IceCaps closed the gap heading into the second with goals from Kyle Bushee, his first in the American Hockey League, and Corner Brook native Jason King, his first of two on the day. King's second marker early in the second tied the game at three, and the score stayed that way until the 16:59 mark of the third when Eric O'Dell buried his second of the season, which stood as the game winner. The IceCaps 4-3 win was their sixth straight overall and gave them a five point lead atop the Eastern Conference.
This week, St. John's continues its six-game homestand when it welcomes the Norfolk Admirals to Mile One Friday and Saturday nights. Through 16 games, Norfolk sports a 9-6-0-1 record (19 points) and sits second in the East Division. Forward Carter Ashton, the Reebok/AHL Rookie of the Month for October, leads the team with 11 goals while fellow rookie Cory Conacher leads all rookies in scoring with 18 points (8g, 10a) in 14 games. The two teams have yet to meet in the regular season but played three times in the preseason, with Norfolk defeating St. John’s two games to one to capture the Mary Brown’s Cup.
- Oh Captain, My Captain: After recording a hat trick in Saturday’s 8-4 win over the Whale, captain Jason Jaffrey was recalled by Winnipeg to jolt a struggling Jets offence. Jaffray has played 36 NHL games in his 10 year pro career, registering four goals and 10 points.
- Arty Gets the Call: Joining Jaffray in Winnipeg will be defenceman Arturs Kulda, who was also recalled after Saturday night’s game. Kulda had six points (2g, 4a) in 13 games this season and was a +9, trailing only John Albert (+10) for the team lead in plus-minus.
- Mannino Returns: Goaltender Peter Mannino, reassigned to St. John’s on Friday, saw his first AHL action in more than two weeks and was solid in the IceCaps 4-3 victory over Connecticut Sunday afternoon. After a rocky first period in which he allowed three goals, Mannino shut the door the rest of the way, stopping 35-of-38 shots in the victory.
- Streaking: The IceCaps have now won six straight games, dating back to a November 1st victory at Worcester. During that span, St. John’s has outscored its opponents 31-17 and has recorded at least four goals in five of the six victories. On the season, the IceCaps are a perfect 8-0-0-0 when scoring four times or more.
- Flare for the Dramatic: Rookie Eric O`Dell has just two goals this season, but both have been game-winners against Connecticut. O`Dell`s first goal of the season came on November 4th in Hartford while his second goal led St. John`s to a 4-3 win on Sunday.