Scratches: Dalton Thrower, Jacob de la Rose (undisclosed), Mac Bennett, Connor Crisp (undisclosed), Nikita Scherbak (undisclosed), Markus Eisenschmid (undisclosed) Injured reserve: Ryan Johnston (back surgery)
Just before the start of tonight’s game, the Montreal Canadiens announced that forward Christian Thomas had been traded to Arizona in exchange for one of his former Oshawa Generals teammates, Lucas Lessio. With that news as fresh as the new sheet of ice, the IceCaps got things started with a lot of energy as Mark MacMillan potted his third goal of the season just under two minutes into the game.
St. John’s also managed to stay disciplined in the first period, with only one minor penalty taken by Brandon McNally for hooking. The power play unit wasn’t able to convert on any of it’s four opportunities, but on the other hand the penalty killers also didn’t allow any goals.
The second period was played pretty evenly until Mark Barberio scored his second goal of the year to put the IceCaps ahead by one. Just over a minute later, Mike McCarron tipped in a shot by Josiah Didier to give St. John’s a two-goal lead.
Things started to come undone a bit in the third period with multiple penalties going against the home team. Midway through the period, Albany got within one goal, but the IceCaps tightened up and kept their lead through the final horn.
Zach Fucale faced 46 shots overall on the night and looked confident in the goal crease. Despite have points in the last two games, Jacob de la Rose was a scratch in tonight’s game for unknown reasons.
The IceCaps return to the ice on Wednesday night for the second game in this back-to-back series against the Albany Devils.
▲ Zach Fucale, Michael McCarron, Josiah Didier, Darren Dietz
Scratches: Dalton Thrower, Eric Neilson, Connor Crisp (undisclosed), Nikita Scherbak (undisclosed), Markus Eisenschmid (undisclosed) Injured reserve: Ryan Johnston (back surgery)
The IceCaps returned home to St. John’s this week and welcomed the Rochester Americans tonight for the first of a back-to-back. The IceCaps came out shooting, showing a lot of energy and tallying 22 shots on goal in the first period. Jacob de la Rose, returning from a lengthy absence due to injury in early November, made his mark early on as he put the home team on the board late in the first. It was his first goal for St. John’s this season.
Penalties, however, also played their part in this game. Michael McCarron took consecutive minors for cross-checking and roughing in the first period, while Josiah Didier sat for five minutes after enduring a fight with Patrick Kaleta. The Amerks power play unit finally converted one of their man advantage opportunities and tied the game in the second period.
Shots were kept to a minimum and the game was played pretty tightly through the third period, but then Jerry D’Amigo saw an opening when Gabriel Dumont and Mark Barberio got caught deep with Darren Dietz trying to make a play behind the net. D’Amigo shot one past Zach Fucale and moments later Rochester potted an empty-netter.
Despite the mistake late in the third, Dumont had seven shots on goal for the night, while Morgan Ellis tallied five shots. Michael Bournival played his first game of the season, taking the left wing position on the top line.
The IceCaps meet up with the Rochester Americans again tomorrow night at Mile One Centre for the second of their back-to-back series.
Scratches: Dalton Thrower, Mac Bennett, Tim Bozon, Michael Bournival (concussion), Connor Crisp (undisclosed), Jacob De la Rose (lower-body), Nikita Scherbak (undisclosed), Markus Eisenschmid (undisclosed) Injured reserve: Ryan Johnston (back surgery)
Sometimes the games that you are ‘supposed’ to win are the hardest to play.
Fans of the Montreal Canadiens organization divided their attention between the IceCaps and the Habs on Saturday night. The Canadiens were in North Carolina to face the last place team in the Eastern conference of the NHL. They came out on the wrong end of a 3-2 final in Raleigh.
St. John’s was in Binghamton to wrap up their road trip against the Senators, winners of just five games coming into this night. Marc MacMillan opened the scoring just four minutes into the game. Matt Puempel replied quickly for the Senators.
The Sens started the game with a bit of a chip on their shoulders and were ornery throughout. Just over eight minutes in Jeremy Gregoire tangled with Max McCormick. It was an extended tilt with a flurry of blows. The IceCaps bench took note of McCormick getting in an extra punch to the head while Gregoire was on the ice.
Just two minutes later Mike McCarron put down Nick Tuzzolino with a single solid punch. Tuzzolino left the ice for repairs in the dressing room. The fight was over so quickly that the two were given minors for roughing.
The IceCaps failed to develop any momentum after their first goal. Similarly the one-sided fight did nothing to spark the lethargic offense. And the Senators, who haven’t been in many games this season, seized the chance for a rare win.
The backbreaker for the IceCaps was a Senators goal by Ryan Dzingel with just 85 seconds left in the second period.
The IceCaps are really feeling the impact of injuries and call-ups at this point of the season. They have become a one line offense of Mike McCarron, Charles Hudon and Bud Holloway. While having great season in their own right, McCarron and Hudon play different games and have shown little chemistry playing together.
The IceCaps will return to St. John’s on Sunday with a four game home-stand on the schedule starting on Friday against the Rochester Americans..
▲ Mark MacMillan, Brett Lernout, Jarred Tinordi, Darren Dietz, Mike McCarron
Scratches: Dalton Thrower, Mac Bennett, Eric Neilson, Michael Bournival (concussion), Connor Crisp (undisclosed), Jacob De la Rose (lower-body), Nikita Scherbak (undisclosed), Markus Eisenschmid (undisclosed) Injured reserve: Ryan Johnston (back surgery)
The Aud in Utica is a small, quaint historic barn. Packed to the rafters it was buzzing with energy all game long. And the Comets treated 3860 boisterous fans to a dominating performance. Shots were 31-15 for Utica.
When speaking to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, Comets coach Travis Green said, “I thought our team played a hell of a game. We were in their end 70 percent of the game.”
But Sylvain Lefebvre’s ‘bend-not-break’ defence held and Eddie Pasquale was outstanding, fully deserving of the game’s first star. Pasquale and Dustin Tokarski have been superb in two straight games as the IceCaps have been outshot a combined 69-33 against Albany and Utica. Despite the lopsided shot disadvantage in games this week, St. John’s has picked up three of a possible four points.
The IceCaps have now earned points in 10 straight games. On the current road trip, Lefebvre’s crew has picked up eight points in five games with the coach crediting strong team play.
St. John’s easily won the special teams battle. The Comets enjoyed five power-play opportunities but the IceCaps penalty-killers were perfect. Jarred Tinordi’s lane-clogging reach and Josiah Didier’s shot blocking were particularly effective. The overtime winner scored on the power-play.
It was Andrey Pedan who was in the box when Bud Holloway drifted a wrister past goaltender Joe Cannata. Pedan received two minutes for boarding when he enthusiastically took Tinordi’s head into the glass. Trying to resurrect past grudges, Pedan hurt his team while Tinordi displayed discipline.
Following the game the IceCaps headed to Binghamton where they will close out their six-game road trip against the Senators on Saturday night.
▲ Eddie Pasquale, Jarred Tinordi, Josiah Didier, Darren Dietz
1 for 3
0 for 5
STJ: Miceli (2), Holloway (7)
UTI: Sautner (3)
STJ: Pasquale (W) 3-1-1-0
UTI: Cannata (L) 6-5-2-1
AHL Three Stars
Eddie Pasquale STJ
Brian Holloway STJ
Ashton Sautner UTI
Coach Sylvain Lefebvre
“The way we’re playing, we’re playing tight hockey games and we’re finding ways to get points.”
“Tonight the power-play came up big in overtime. And even the penalty-kill came up big at the end of the game.”
“Eddie [Pasquale] was great in net. I thought defensively we bent but didn’t break. We did some good things defensively.”
“[Utica Comets] played well, they played hard, they finished every check. On the forecheck, they were aggressive, they finished their checks on our defensemen. It takes a toll on everybody.”
“[Jarred Tinordi] is logging a lot of minutes. Every game you can see that he’s gaining confidence. Defensively, he plays hard, he takes the body, he’s got a long reach, long stick and he’s getting more confidence with the puck.”
“[Nikita] Scherbak is not going to be back until probably the end of January.”
Post-game interview with Sylvain Lefebvre
Post-game interview with Charles Hudon
Audio from interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for IceCaps Hockey Report | Rocket Sports Media.
Scratches: Josiah Didier, Eric Neilson, Connor Crisp (undisclosed injury), Jacob De la Rose (lower-body) Injured reserve: Ryan Johnston (back surgery)
It was the first game for the IceCaps following their six-game road trip that ended last Saturday in Hershey with an exciting comeback win. The week had been spent practicing to prepare for the homestand as well as attend to some of the problems that cropped up while in Pennsylvania. The opponents were the arch-rival Toronto Marlies for the first of 12 games this season.
St. John’s was welcoming Nikita Scherbak back to the lineup after he missed the entire rad trip with a lower-body injury. Unfortunately for the rookie forward, the return would be short-lived. With seven minutes left in the first period, the Marlies’ Viktor Loov delivered a solid shoulder check into the chest of Scherbak as he was coming out of the IceCaps zone. Scherbak missed the rest of the first period, took one shift in the second and wasn’t seen on the ice after that.
The first period ended with no scoring after an entertaining period. It was a great playoff-like atmosphere at the Mile One Centre with an equal mix of Marlies – IceCaps fans. A “Go Leafs Go” chant was loudly heard throughout the night.
St. John’s also lost the service of Markus Eisenschmid as he was on the wrong end of a big hit. The short bench led to some line juggling as the game went on.
Perhaps suffering a little in the second period from being down to three lines, the Marlies dominated outshooting the IceCaps 16-7. Yet it was St John’s who got the only goal of the second period to take a 1-0 lead. Charles Hudon stretched out to redirect a Bud Holloway shot. Hudon looked to the rafters after picking up his fifth goal of the season indicative of his relief following a less than stellar performance on the road trip.
The IceCaps dodged a bullet when Nikita Soshnikov blew past Hudon and Mark Barberio only to be thwarted by the pad of Fucale. St. John’s then took a 2-0 lead on a great individual effort from Darren Dietz.
Zach Fucale had a solid game particularly in the second frame making 16 saves but a mistake in the third with 11:13 remaining put the Leafs on the board. Casey Bailey scored into the wide open cage as Fucale had taken himself out of the play, overplaying the puck and sliding well beyond the crease behind the goal line.
The goal gave a boost to the Marlies who ramped up the pressure in the period. Christian Thomas took a bad offensive zone penalty for tripping. It took just 18 seconds for Mark Arcobello to score on the power-play going high glove hand on Fucale. The two teams did not add to their totals ending the third period in a 2-2 tie.
In overtime, Thomas atoned for his costly penalty by rifling a shot from the faceoff dot blocker side on Garret Sparks. Fucale picked up an assist as he banked a pass off the boards to Thomas.
It was the second straight win for the IceCaps in extra time. After giving up a two-goal third period lead, it was also another character test passed successfully for the young team.
The same teams play again on Saturday at Mile One to complete the two-game series.
▲ Zach Fucale, Morgan Ellis, Bud Holloway, Sven Andrighetto, Darren Dietz
1 for 2
1 for 3
STJ: Hudon (5), Dietz (3), Thomas (6)
TOR: Bailey (2), Arcobello (4)
STJ: Fucale (W) 6-2-0
TOR: Sparks (L) 5-2-1
AHL Three Stars
Zachary Fucale STJ
Christian Thomas STJ
Victor Loov TOR
Coach Sylvain Lefebvre
“It was geography. It was playing them 36 times in three years, and that’s not counting the times they played each other before I was there. It’s because they’re division rivals, big-club rivals.”
WHITEHALL, PA. — A hockey practice is not only a learning experience for the players on the ice but also instructive for those who follow the team. The IceCaps Hockey Report team caught up with the IceCaps as they were put through their paces during the road trip in Pennsylvania.
The players were wide-eyed as they entered the well-worn old barn. Jacob De la Rose said that it reminded him of the rink where he played his minor hockey. But as they walked along the boards to the dressing room many commented that the ice looked good. “I can smell good ice,” said Eric Neilson.
“When we pulled in, everyone was like ‘Woah, what is this?’,” said Mike McCarron, “But the ice was good. It was a good practice. Guys were moving their feet good.”
McCarron was the first to take the ice at the arena known as “The Rink at Lehigh Valley.”
The IceCaps began practice will a typical line-rush drill but with a twist. They didn’t use pucks. The invisible puck drill was a trademark of former Canadiens forward Jimmy Roberts back in his coaching days primarily with the St. Louis Blues organization. According to IceCaps team broadcaster Brian Rogers, it was the coaching staff’s tribute to Roberts, who passed away on October 23rd of this year.
IceCaps assistant coach Donald Dufresne played for Roberts when Jimmy was the coach and general manager in the mid-90’s of the Worcester IceCats (Blues AHL affiliate.) Canadiens assistant coach J.J. Daigneault was also a member of that roster.
Passing without a puck was, for the most part, tape-to-tape. The line rushes by the forwards were creative and the phantom shots were of the booming variety. But it was the goaltending where imaginations flourished with spectacular glove saves and the occasional double-pad stack.
“The guys, I think they missed their shots,” said Zach Fucale, “That was a little bit of a fun time to start the practice. It got everyone fired up.”
The 3-on-3 drill was especially intense with some solid contact. It was a spirited, high-energy practice with players being encouraged to be very vocal to communicate with teammates. This is a talented, strong skating team with good camaraderie.
“Sorry Tick” drowned out the rest of the ice noise as a restrained shot from defenceman Brett Lernout got up a little high on Dustin Tokarski. The body language of the former Canadiens backup and his lack of crispness in a shoot-in drill hinted that Tokarski is not necessarily enthusiastic about his new assignment. (Tokarski was recalled by the Canadiens on Sunday in light of an injury to Carey Price.)
With the net empty, Lernout practised one-timers in rapid-fire succession displaying a potent shot and remarkable accuracy. After several minutes, he celebrated loudly his several dozen goals.
The head coach showed that he still has a little velocity to his shot as a blast from the stick of Sylvain Lefebvre went part way through the twine remaining caught up in the netting for all to see.
McCarron was second-to-last off the ice as the session ended just over an hour after it began.
Check out our gallery of photos from IceCaps practice.
Scratches: Josiah Didier, Mac Bennett, Ryan Johnston (hernia), Mark MacMillan, Nikita Scherbak (undisclosed), Connor Crisp, Tim Bozon (shoulder) Injured reserve:
Buoyed by their win Friday night in Allentown, the St. John’s IceCaps came out flying in Hershey on Saturday. Darren Dietz opened the scoring with a perfectly placed wrister from the point before the game was four minutes old.
Shots on goal were 10-1 for the IceCaps with just seven minutes played in the first period. Hershey’s veteran goaltender Justin Peters prevented any further damage in the first period, particularly with two big pad saves on Charles Hudon during an IceCaps 5-on-3 man advantage.
The IceCaps dominated the first period outshooting the Bears 14-5. The Giant Center fans showed their disappointment in the home team during a late first period power-play as Hershey looked completely out of sync.
St. John’s went up 2-0 just 69 seconds into the second period as he knocked down a loose puck and ripped it from the circle. Just over two and a half minutes later, Hershey captain Garrett Mitchell intercepted a Dietz clearing attempt and beat Zach Fucale glove side.
Fans in the Giant Center woke up and so did the Bears. They took over the game in the second period outshooting the IceCaps 14-7.
The momentum for the home team continued into the third with Liam O’Brien converting a 3-on-1 to tie the game at two just over four minutes into the third period. Paul Carey tapped in a cross-ice feed to give the Bears their first lead at 9:58.
At the midpoint of the third period, shots on goal were 7-0 for Hershey.
The IceCaps mounted a fierce attack looking for the tying goal in the final two minutes but were turned away by Peters. Dustin Gazley scored an empty-netter for a 4-2 final.
After a very good first period, the IceCaps went to sleep. For a 30 minute stretch in the second and third periods, they were outshot 21-7. The loss, was St. John’s second in three games on this six-game road trip.
The IceCaps get the day off on Sunday before returning to the ice for practice on Monday. St. John’s next game is on Wednesday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
▲ Zach Fucale, Darren Dietz, Daniel Carr, Mark Barberio
“Well, it did (momentum changed) in the third period. The goal they got, it killed us, killed our momentum. We had no legs in the third period. Why? I don’t know. You have to give [the Hershey Bears] credit, they played well and they played hard.”
“You try to stay positive, you try to get them going but at the same time, they have to do it themselves. They have to regroup.”
“Obviously everybody thought that there should have been a penalty on the play. But we stopped playing hard, we stopped making plays, we stopped moving our feet and that’s our DNA.”
“We felt desperate, we played desperate hockey. We spent time in their zone and we had a couple of chances. They played well, their goalie made big saves especially in the first period on our power-play. He made a huge save (on Hudon.) If we score there…”
“Even when the score was 2-0, we did have some scoring chances and we didn’t capitalize. The game could have gone either way but it didn’t.”
“We looked a little tired in the third period. We’re a team that’s in pretty good shape so [fatigue] shouldn’t be a factor.”
Post-game interview with Sylvain Lefebvre
Post-game interview with Zach Fucale
Audio from interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for IceCaps Hockey Report | Rocket Sports Media.
More reinforcements en route to St. John’s
NINE MORE PLAYERS REASSIGNED
St. John’s IceCaps MEDIA RELEASE
MONTREAL, QUEBEC (September 27, 2015) –Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced today that nine players have been reassigned to the St. John’s IceCaps.
The following players have been assigned to St. John’s:
Bud Holloway (ƀ)
Christian Thomas (ƀ)
Gabriel Dumont (ƀ)
Morgan Ellis (ƀ)
(ƀ) – requires NHL waivers
There are still 31 players at Montreal’s camp (18 forwards, 10 defensemen, 3 goaltenders); including four injured players: Max Pacioretty, Nikita Scherbak, Noah Juulsen and Michaël Bournival.
The newest IceCaps will travel to Newfoundland and Labrador tonight to continue their training camp. St. John’s will play three pre-season games against the Toronto Marlies on October 1st, 2nd and 4th.
IceCaps season tickets remain available and can also be purchased in person at the Mile One Centre box office, by phone at 709-576-7657 or online at www.mileonecentre.com.
ST. JOHN’S, NL. — The 20 year old Medicine Hat, Alberta native played his junior hockey with Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. In 2011 the Habs drafted Darren Dietz 138th overall after posting 27 points in 68 games in his first full season at the junior level. This investment proved to be smart as he continued to take jumps in the following years to 44 and 58 points respectively over 72 games in 2011-12 and 2012-13, which also resulted in a first team all-star nod for the latter season. In addition to his offensive abilities from the backend, Dietz also played with an edge hitting triple digits in penalty minutes in both his last two seasons for the Blades. This physical presence was on display in his tenure with the Bulldogs and he gives opposing forwards a reason to keep their heads up.
Dietz had a quiet and shortened rookie season for the Bulldogs in 2013-14 only lacing up for 34 games, but followed that up with an impressive camp for the Canadiens last year which saw him stick around through the final cuts and continued to progress with 17 points over 71 games with the Bulldogs. A right handed shot, Dietz finds himself down the depth chart behind the likes of Subban, Petry, Gilbert and late season call-up Pateryn.
He has the potential to be a top-4, possibly top-2 guy with the baby Habs this season, and will battle with recent rookie camp stand-out Ryan Johnston for PP time with the IceCaps. The one thing Dietz has on his side is the consensus understanding that defensemen typically take longer to develop. We see this in the case of guys like Tinordi (23), Beaulieu (22) and Pateryn (25), and so there is no pressure to make the jump immediately, but 2014-15 should prove an important season to ensure his development continues in the right direction. If Dietz should continue to progress and he remains a candidate to be called up pending a trade or injury the aforementioned righties in the Habs lineup. Long term projections are still a little early to say, by no means is he a blue chip, but a nice piece in the cupboard for Martin Lapointe to continue to work with and potential to develop into an NHL player one day.
HENSICK SCORES TWICE TO LIFT ‘DOGS PAST WILD, 2-1
Mike Condon stops 37 of 38 shots faced in victory
Hamilton Bulldogs Media Release
DES MOINES, IOWA – Hamilton Bulldogs forward T.J. Hensick scored two goals in the last seven minutes of the game to lift the ‘Dogs (21-17-6-0) past the Iowa Wild (15-28-1-1) 2-1 on Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
The win was the Bulldogs’ fifth in a row, which is their longest winning streak this season. The last time Hamilton won five straight came between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 10, 2014, when the club won six consecutive games.
After a goaltending duel through the first 40 minutes which saw ‘Dogs goaltender Mike Condon and Wild netminder Darcy Kuemper turn aside a combined 39 shots, Iowa defenceman Guillaume Gelinas fired a one-timer over a sprawling Condon to break the scoreless tie on the power play at 8:23 of the third period. Forward Marc Hagel and defenceman Brad Richard had assists on the play.
With seven minutes to go in regulation, Hensick roofed a wrister over Kuemper in tight for his 11th goal of the season on the power play to tie the game, 1-1. Forwards Charles Hudon and Sven Andrighetto had assists.
Four minutes later, Hensick tipped a point shot by defenceman Darren Dietz past Kuemper for his team co-leading 12th goal of the year to give the ‘Dogs a 2-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Forward Drayson Bowman had a second assist.
Condon made 37 saves on 38 shots for the Bulldogs in the win, while Kuemper stopped 27 of 29 shots faced for the Wild in the loss.
Hamilton went 1-for-3 on the power play, while Iowa was 1-for-4 with a man advantage.
Dan Lawrie Insurance Premium Player of the Game (Hardest Working Player): Mike Condon
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 31 when they’ll visit the Wild at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa at 1:30 p.m. The ‘Dogs return home on Friday, Feb. 6 when they’ll host the Wild at FirstOntario Centre at 7:30 p.m.
For more information on Hamilton Bulldogs flex tickets, group tickets and single-game tickets, call 1-866-DOGS-TIX or visit hamiltonbulldogs.com.
Listen to all Bulldogs regular season and post-season games live on Hamilton’s AM 900 CHML, on www.900chml.com or watch live on www.ahllive.com. Catch every Friday night home game live in high definition on Cable 14.