Scratches: Mac Bennett, Dalton Thrower, John Scott, Jeremy Gregoire, Josiah Didier, Michael Bournival (undisclosed), Markus Eisenschmid (undisclosed) Injured reserve: Connor Crisp (undisclosed)
The Syracuse Crunch were hungry for payback. They had failed to score a goal in the previous night’s game against the IceCaps, and the St. John’s team wanted to keep them down. Victor Bartley got things going for the hometown fans at Mile One Centre early in the first period with his first goal of the season, coming to him on the power play.
Then things got really testy on the ice. A six-player fight broke out, with Michael McCarron, Darren Dietz, and Gabriel Dumont all throwing off the gloves and taking a Crunch player to task. The IceCaps managed to get a man advantage out of the scrap, and Mark MacMillan capitalized on the power play.
But before the first period could come to an end, Syracuse managed to even the score. Zach Fucale had to stand tall throughout the second period as he faced more than twice the shots then his opponent at the other end of the ice. Shane Bakker was ejected from the game on a match penalty for boarding, and things were not looking good for the IceCaps.
Nikita Scherbak, however, did not give up and tallied another power play goal in the third period to knot the score at three-aside. He, Dumont, and Morgan Ellis would be selected to start the overtime period that followed. Charles Hudon sped up the ice on a breakaway and fired the puck from the slot to put a stamp on the game and give the IceCaps another win.
Jacob de la Rose was recalled by the Montreal Canadiens prior to the game starting. The IceCaps return to the ice on Saturday to take on the Toronto Marlies.
Scratches: Mac Bennett, Brendan McNally, Dalton Thrower, John Scott, Jeremy Gregoire, Josiah Didier, Michael Bournival (undisclosed), Markus Eisenschmid (undisclosed) Injured reserve: Connor Crisp (undisclosed)
The IceCaps needed a win. They came into tonight’s game having lost their last five consecutive matchups, and only having won three of their last 14 games. Something needed to change before desperation set in.
It didn’t bode well when St. John’s took a high sticking penalty just 30 seconds into the opening frame. Syracuse, fortunately, didn’t convert their power play opportunity. Nikita Scherbak potted his fourth of the season to open the scoring, a power play tally assisted by Gabriel Dumont and Bud Holloway.
Zach Fucale had a strong game throughout the night, making a couple of highlight reel saves to keep the Crunch at bay. In the second period, Michael McCarron snapped his 17-game goalless streak with a power play goal of his own, assisted by Morgan Ellis and Holloway.
Discipline was key for the IceCaps, as they maintained their composure and only took three penalties total. Despite the fact that it took almost 17 minutes for the IceCaps to get a shot on goal in the third period, Ellis would make it count and blasted one in from the faceoff circle. Dumont potted an empty-netter to shut the door completely at the end of regulation. It marked Fucale’s first professional shutout.
The IceCaps face the Crunch once again on Tuesday night at Mile One Centre.
▲ Bud Holloway, Zach Fucale, Nikita Scherbak, Morgan Ellis, Michael McCarron
Scratches: John Scott, Jeremy Gregoire, Josiah Didier, Dalton Thrower, Mac Bennett, Michael Bournival, Brendan McNally, Markus Eisenschmid (undisclosed) Injured reserve: Connor Crisp (undisclosed)
A very different-looking IceCaps team took the ice in St. John’s on Saturday night. Different not only because Michael McCarron was moved to right wing, Jacob de la Rose to the left wing, and Nikita Scherbak still at center, but also because the team came out with a surge of energy and intensity not recently seen.
McCarron was obviously simmering as he took a boarding penalty just over 30 seconds into the game. Newcomer Shane Bakker then dropped the gloves and put a definitive stamp on his debut with the club. De la Rose had something to prove as well, and scored the opening goal assisted by Gabriel Dumont and McCarron.
Less than a minute before the end of the period, the Comets tied things up on a power play. The second period was played very tightly, with no goals added to the scoreboard, but plenty of penalties on both sides.
That carried over into the third period until Dumont potted a goal of his own, allowing the IceCaps to regain their one-goal lead. Through a series of penalties, the home team struggled to maintain control of the game but the Comets managed to tie things up once again as the final minutes of the game wound down. It took just five seconds in overtime for Brendan Gaunce to seal the win for Utica.
The IceCaps return to the ice Tuesday night to take on the Syracuse Crunch when they visit St. John’s.
▲ Eddie Pasquale, Jacob de la Rose, Gabriel Dumont
SYRACUSE, NY — Fifty-two AHL stars gathered once again at center ice in Syracuse on Monday night. Each were selected based on their outstanding play thus far in the 2015-16 season. The best of the American League. Many contend these players are a force to be reckoned with, and the jumbers tend to agree.
82 AHL players league-wide have made their NHL debut this season (including Michael McCarron of the St. John’s IceCaps).
23 of this year’s AHL All-Stars have played in the NHL this season.
This years All-Stars have tallied 1,968 career NHL games.
Of the 679 players (since 1995) who have played in the AHL All-Star Classic, 94.7% of them have gone on to play in the NHL.
It’s safe to say the AHL continues to produce a lot of promising talent for the NHL. And for the St. John’s IceCaps McCarron and Morgan Ellis certainly represented them well. We spoke with each of them before the game, watch the video below.
The game was broken down into three periods, each containing two nine-minute round robin games pitting divisions against each other. Each game was played 4-on-4 for the first half and 3-on-3 for the second half.
It took a couple of games for guys to get a feel for the format, but then they started to get serious. Ellis assisted on the North’s first goal by Josh Leivo and had plenty of scoring chances of his own. Ellis was quite noticeable every time he took the ice and skated very well. McCarron assisted on a different Leivo goal, then potted one of his own off a sweet centering pass from Matt Taormina.
In the end, Central beat out Atlantic for the championship win. McCarron and Ellis now head back to St. John’s for a short break before gearing up to face Utica on Friday. Be sure to check out their post-game interviews below.
SYRACUSE, NY. — On Sunday night the best players in the AHL gathered to take part in the 2016 Skills Competition. Defenceman Morgan Ellis and forward Michael McCarron were the representatives for the St. John’s IceCaps. Former Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj was selected to represent the Ontario Reign as one of the top goaltenders this season in the AHL.
SYRACUSE, NY — The best of the best gathered at Syracuse’s War Memorial Arena on Sunday night to kick off the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic with the Skills Competition. Fifty-two of the league’s top forwards, defencemen, and goaltenders gatheredto show off their talents in a night of playful competition.
Michael McCarron and Morgan Ellis were chosen as the two North Division representatives from the St. John’s IceCaps. We spoke with them before the event began to get a sense of their excitement level for the weekend. You can watch the video of those interviews below.
We also chatted with former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj before the competition began. Budaj now plays for the Ontario Reign and is having a terrific season. You can listen to the audio from his interview, as well as audio from post-event interviews with McCarron and Ellis below as well.
Pre-event interview with Peter Budaj
Post-event interview with Morgan Ellis
Post-event interview with Michael McCarron
After watching the Puck Control Relay and Fastest Skater events from the sidelines, the Rapid Fire contest brought McCarron to the ice. He impressed the crowd by potting four of his five quick-shot attempts.
Next it was Ellis’ turn in the Hardest Shot event. He fired a laser at 100.0 mph to take the third hardest shot position overall, and one of only two players to get into triple digits.
Pass and Score teamed three skaters against a goalie. McCarron, Mike Sislo, and William Nylander peppered Budaj, but couldn’t get a puck past him.
Finally, both IceCaps players took part in the Breakaway Relay. McCarron faced Budaj once again and Ellis took on Laurent Brossoit. At the end of the night the Western Conference came out on top, but every participant seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Fans lined the boards afterwards for photos and autographs with their favorite players, who now look forward to the AHL All-Star Game Monday night.
Scratches: Michael Bournival, John Scott, Markus Eisenschmid (undisclosed), Victor Bartley (undisclosed) Injured reserve: Connor Crisp (undisclosed)
The slide continues for the St. John’s IceCaps. Coach Sylvain Lefebvre moved his lines around again, pushing Michael McCarron back to the first line, dropping Nikita Scherbak down to the second line. Gabriel Dumont moved back to center on the third line, putting Jacob de la Rose on the left wing. Lefebvre also chose to roll seven defensemen tonight.
The new look still failed to produce results. It only took about five minutes for the Wolf Pack to put the first goal on the scoreboard. Despite the first period continuing fairly quietly, things started to break down in the second frame. Josiah Didier took a couple of penalties, including a fighting major, and McCarron took consecutive penalties for cross-checking and unsportsmanlike conduct. Hartford tallied two more goals during the period, one of which came on the power play from McCarron’s second penalty.
Charles Hudon gave the IceCaps some hope by potting a wrister to start the third period, but the comeback hill was too steep to climb. This was the third consecutive loss for the IceCaps, who now head back to St. John’s for some rest and preparation for their next opponent.
In the meantime, McCarron and Morgan Ellis head to Syracuse to take part in the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic on Sunday and Monday.
The IceCaps return to Mile One Centre on Friday night when they welcome the Utica Comets for a back-to-back series.
Scratches: Mac Bennett, Victor Bartley (day-to-day), Bud Holloway (day-to-day) Injured reserve: Connor Crisp (indefinite)
While the blizzard impacting much of the eastern coast of the United States dumped massive amounts of snow just south of Albany, the IceCaps and Devils took to the ice at Times Union Center for a rematch of last night’s game. St. John’s looked to continue their success from the previous game, and came out strong against Albany.
Eddie Pasquale and Scott Wedgewood were the two goaltenders protecting their respective nets, and they were the key to the game right off the bat. Lucas Lessio had a couple of good chances on breakaways, but Wedgewood denied him each time. The first line of Lessio, Michael McCarron, and Nikita Scherbak also drove hard to the net on a three-man rush, but Wedgewood stood strong against Scherbak’s shot.
Then in the second period, the IceCaps found a way past the opposing goalie. Max Friberg slid a perfect pass over to Gabriel Dumont to get the visitors on the board. The first line continued to impress, with multiple odd-man rushes which came close to adding to the goal tally. Finally, on a power play, Charles Hudon and McCarron connected with Sven Andrighetto to make a 2-0 game.
Tempers flared and while there was only one actual fight, things got very tense on the ice at times. Albany battled back, scoring a goal on the man advantage, but Pasquale and the entire team clamped down and held their lead to defeat the Devils once again.
The IceCaps next head to Portland, Maine for games against the Pirates on Wednesday and Friday before heading back to Connecticut to take on the Hartford Wolfpack on Saturday.
▲ Nikita Scherbak, Max Friberg, Lucas Lessio, Michael McCarron, Eddie Pasquale
Scratches: Mac Bennett, Jeremy Gregoire, John Scott, Connor Crisp (undisclosed)
The IceCaps needed a win. They needed their goaltender to stand strong. They needed their offense to get pucks to the net. They needed their defense to keep the opponent at bay. Finally, on the sixth and last game of the St. John’s homestand, the team got what they needed.
Zach Fucale got the start this afternoon, and it looked like history might repeat itself again when Nikita Soshnikov potted the first goal less than six minutes into the game. But this time, the IceCaps responded in force. Morgan Ellis tied things up with a power play goal, followed by Daniel Carr who also scored on the man advantage.
The Marlies found their way to the net equally as well, though, and kept the game close. Then Markus Eisenschmid scored his first AHL goal in style: shorthanded. Ellis found the back of the net again, this time with the help of Michael McCarron and Darren Dietz. Lucas Lessio added to the tally and Gabriel Dumont slid in an empty netter to put the seal on Toronto.
In addition to Eisenschmid notching his first goal, Ryan Johnston earned his first pro point with a secondary assist on Carr’s goal. John Scott participated in both the morning skate and in pre-game warmups, but did not play.
The IceCaps now hit the road for a six-game trip before the All-Star break, beginning with a tilt against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Wednesday.
▲ Sven Andrighetto, Morgan Ellis, Darren Dietz, Michael McCarron, Markus Eisenschmid, Ryan Johnston
Scratches: Eric Neilson, Stefan Fournier, Brandon McNally, Tim Bozon (undisclosed), Connor Crisp (undisclosed), Nikita Scherbak (undisclosed) Injured reserve: Ryan Johnston (back surgery)
After a complete breakdown the previous night, losing 5-1 to the Portland Pirates, the St. John’s IceCaps took to the Mile One Centre ice on Saturday looking to bounce back quickly. But it seemed that they were stuck in the same sluggish cycle from the night before, despite a massive amount of line-juggling done by the coach.
Sylvain Lefebvre moved Michael McCarron back to the first line, where he also placed newcomer Max Friberg on right wing. Jacob de la Rose found himself promoted to the second line, which bumped Markus Eisenschmid up to the third line. Charles Hudon was shifted to Eisenschmid’s left wing after centering the first line for the last couple of weeks.
The Pirates came out buzzing in the first period, scoring their first goal just three minutes into the game. Five minutes later they earned a shorthanded goal, quickly followed by a power play goal. Eddie Pasquale was immediately pulled from the game after giving up three goals on just seven shots.
Zach Fucale gave a strong performance in relief despite giving up a goal shortly into the second period. The IceCaps attempted some physicality to muster a spark with their teammates with Dalton Thrower, Gabriel Dumont, and Jeremy Gregoire all dropping the gloves, but to no avail. Dumont did, however, connect with Eisenschmid and de la Rose late in the third period to get St. John’s on the board.
The IceCaps return to home ice on Tuesday night when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to town for a back-to-back series.
▲ Zach Fucale
▼ Joel Hanley, Charles Hudon, Dalton Thrower, Eddie Pasquale
1 for 5
1 for 4
STJ: Dumont (9)
POR: Wilson (5), McFarland (12), Grimaldi (6), Megan (4)