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
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, Victor Bartley (day-to-day), Bud Holloway (day-to-day) Injured reserve: Connor Crisp (indefinite)
After a disappointing overtime loss on Wednesday night in Bridgeport, the IceCaps headed into tonight’s game against the Albany Devils looking a little less-than-enthusiastic. Just over four minutes into the game, the Devils got on the board and outshot the visitors 9-0 in the first half of the game. It looked like it could be a long night for the IceCaps.
But towards the start of the second period, St. John’s found their focus when Morgan Ellis sent a slapshot past Yann Danis to even the score. 20 seconds later Jim O’Brien potted his second of the night, but it only took Nikita Scherbak another 20 seconds to brings things back to 2-2 on his second goal of the season.
Finding themselves on a 5-on-3, the IceCaps continued to pressure the Devils and Charles Hudon found the mesh off a shot from the faceoff circle to give his team their first lead of the game. Sven Andrighetto and Ryan Johnston assisted on the goal.
In the third period Andrighetto added to his point tally with a fortunate puck deflection off his skate to give the IceCaps a 4-2 lead which they were able to maintain until the final horn.
Discipline was key for this game, and for once it was because the IceCaps stayed out of the penalty box. Hudon seemed to hit his head or face in the third period and headed off to the dressing room after taking a while to get up off the ice.
The IceCaps have a rematch with the Albany Devils on Saturday afternoon for a matinee game.
▲ Nikita Scherbak, Charles Hudon, Morgan Ellis, Sven Andrighetto
Scratches: Mac Bennett, Jeremy Gregoire, John Scott, Connor Crisp (undisclosed)
The IceCaps haven’t had a good run of things at home this week, losing all four games they’ve played at Mile One Centre since returning from their last road trip. Tonight’s game needed to be successful, especially given the roster and line combo upheaval the IceCaps and their parent team, the Montreal Canadiens, had experienced during the previous 24 hours.
To recap the roster moves and trades, Jacob de la Rose was recalled to the Montreal Canadiens, Daniel Carr and Sven Andrighetto were reassigned to the IceCaps, Brandon McNally was reassigned to the Brampton Beast, the Canadiens traded Jarred Tinordi and Stefan Fournier to Arizona in exchange for John Scott and Victor Bartley, and Eric Neilson was released from his PTO. Bartley stayed with Montreal, but Scott is due to report to the IceCaps on Sunday. Nikita Scherbak came back from injury for this game, and Ryan Johnston made his pro debut coming off IR from back surgery.
Less than a minute into the game Eddie Pasquale gave up a goal on the the Marlies’ first shot on goal, by Brendan Leipsic. It was soon followed by another one and St. John’s found themselves down 2-0. The reunited first line of Carr, Michael McCarron, and Bud Holloway rediscovered their chemistry pretty quickly, though, and connected to give Holloway the first IceCaps goal of the night. Less than 60 seconds later Charles Hudon fires a laser through Antoine Bibeau and the game was tied 2-2.
But before the end of the first period, Leipsic would find the back of the net again, as would Nikita Soshnikov. Pasquale was pulled from net again, and the IceCaps looked to find an answer that simply wouldn’t surface. Discipline proved to be a problem as the game wore on, with St. John’s taking six consecutive minor penalties through the first and second periods alone.
Leipsic would add insult to injury in the second period by earning himself a hat trick. Another Toronto goal after that proved to be an insurmountable comeback for the IceCaps even with a late game goal by Carr. The IceCaps face the Marlies again on Sunday for a matinee game at Mile One.
▲ Daniel Carr, Sven Andrighetto, Bud Holloway, Michael McCarron
BRAMPTON, ON — The first year AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, the St.John’s IceCaps are off to a good start through their first 14 games of the season. They are currently third in the Eastern Conference’s North Division with a 7-5-1-1 record for 16 points. Part of the IceCaps early success this season has largely been in part to some of the new faces that either made the jump to the professional ranks or signed this past summer with the Canadiens or the IceCaps organization.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for the IceCaps early success is goalie Zach Fucale who is 5-2-0 so far in his seven games, helping his team pick up 10 out of a possible 14 points. Fucale has been mostly solid in his first professional season, although has a middling goals against average of 3.10 and a save percentage of .906 so far. Meanwhile he even chipped in offensively with one assist. The Canadiens 2013 2nd round draft pick has shown his ability to match up to the professional game so far, he will likely only get better as the season moves along.
George “Bud” Holloway, the 27-year-old former third round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, who is back playing in North America for the first time since the 2010-11 season, is the current leader in assists with 11 and points with 15 through the first 14 games. Holloway really impressed while playing overseas in Europe for four seasons signing a one-year, two-way deal with the Canadiens on July 1st.
Holloway was given a chance to crack the deep Canadiens lineup in training camp, however he was unsuccessful in doing so and was sent to the AHL where he has taken on a bit of a veteran role for the young IceCaps team. Holloway brings a ton of leadership to the IceCaps lineup and overall makes them a much better team. Holloway could be a call up later in the season for the Canadiens if injuries occur, however for now, the leading scorer of the IceCaps remains put.
Two first year professionals in Michael McCarron coming out of the Oshawa Generals organization and Nikita Scherbak out of the Everett Silvertips organization are proving that not everyone’s adjustment to the professional game is a difficult one. Big Michael McCarron is in a tie for third in IceCaps scoring with 11 points in 14 games, including six goals so far on the year while being tied for 18th in AHL scoring on the season. Big Mac is a very intimidating presence when he is on the ice, so far this season he has shown he is not afraid to shoot the puck or play his style which is great news.
Nikita Scherbak on the other hand has had a pretty pedestrian start to the season. In eight games he has three points and is a minus-5. For Scherbak, the adjustment to the professional game, speed and play hasn’t been the issue, it has been some injuries have kept him out. Once he gets back to being fully healthy, he will find it easier to play his skilled game and the points will start to come.
Daniel Carr, Sven Andrighetto and Charles Hudon were pegged as players who could have a shot to crack the Canadiens roster out of training camp as well, with two of them being full second year professionals. The trio are all off to good starts this season.
Daniel Carr who had 24 goals last season for the Hamilton Bulldogs is second in team scoring with 12 points in 14 games. Charles Hudon, who was named to the AHL’s all-rookie team last season with 57 points in 75 games, is off to a solid start with 10 points in 14 games.
Lastly, there is diminutive Swiss forward, Sven Andrighetto, who is now playing in his third professional season. In his first season, Andrighetto registered 44 points; last season he tallied 43 points in 40 games. Andrighetto has started this season with nine points in 14 games.
For the IceCaps, these three – two of which were Captain and Assistant Captain at the Rookie Tournament in September – are all being watched closely by the Canadiens and their fans. They figure to be among the top call-ups for the Canadiens if there are any injuries. These young leaders are at the forefront of a, so far, successful St. John’s team in it’s first year as the Habs AHL affliliate.
The IceCaps boast prospects that the Canadiens can afford to wait on. The fact that the Canadiens can afford to let these prospects play together for a long period of time, to grow and learn together, is huge. It also gives the Canadiens management time to really see what type of players they have in the AHL and even in the ECHL with their ECHL affiliate, the Brampton Beast. With the talent the Canadiens organization boasts, the IceCaps figure to be competitive this season. A young, hungry team that can really do some damage this season, the Canadiens know success is paramount in the AHL and ECHL to create a winning environment for these prospects to grow from and translate into success at the next level.
The St.John’s IceCaps next play the Toronto Marlies on Friday, November 13th at home and the Brampton Beast with the likes of Angelo Miceli, Tim Bozon, Mark MacMillan and more next play the Saturday, November 14th vs the Elmira Jackals.
ST. JOHN’S, NL. — On the eve of the St. John’s IceCaps first game of the year in Hartford against the host Wolfpack, one cannot help but feel the buzz that is brought to the city this time of year. Typically every October you can feel it in St. John’s, but this year, under new management and new affiliation there is something special about being connected to the most storied franchise in sports.
In the Coleman’s Cup Training Camp series against rival Toronto Marlies, the IceCaps came back from a Game 1 loss to win games 2 and 3, and the first training camp series win of the franchise history. Game 1 occurred in Stephenville, NL during the IceCaps annual road trip to start the year. Jeremy Gregoire and Morgan Ellis tallied goals for the IceCaps but it wasn’t enough as they lost in the final minute to the Marlies.
Game 2 took place in Corner Brook, NL and was a complete reversal; the IceCaps went out and hammered the Marlies 5-2 on the back of last year’s rookie standout Daniel Carr as he registered two goals. Other scorers were Stefan Fournier, Connor Crisp and Markus Eisenschmid.
Game 3 was held in Gander, NL. The boys took over with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Marlies. Carr registered the lone goal in the shootout, following up a strong performance through the camp. Nikita Scherbak finally seemed to find his groove with a goal and two assists for a game high three points. Joel Hanley, Bud Holloway and Gabriel Dumont were the other goal scorers.
In the four years that the IceCaps have called St. John’s home, they have managed a 50 per cent success rate at finding the playoffs. It’s not necessarily the best percentage, but when they’ve made it to the dance they’ve stuck around all night, making it to Eastern Conference Finals in their inaugural season, and following that up with a loss to the Texas Stars in their third season in town. The exciting part of this is never in those four years did the team ooze the potential it possesses with this combination of young prospects and veterans.
With final cuts from the Canadiens last week, the baby Habs managed to find support in the likes of former Calder Cup Champion and World Junior Champion, Dustin Tokarski. He’ll add to a goalie tandem which has already proved to be competitive between blue chip prospect Zach Fucale and hometown favourite Eddie Pasquale.
Also clearing waivers or being sent down were former AHL Defenseman of the Year, Mark Barberio, incumbent Captain Gabriel Dumont, Christian Thomas, Charles Hudon, Sven Andrighetto, Nikita Scherbak, and Michel Therrien’s favourite pet project Jacob De La Rose.
New projected lines look like we could see Carr – McCarron – Scherbak as a fixture which was present during the Canadiens rookie camp and into regular camp. JDLR could also see time on a top unit with Andrighetto and Hudon. Dumont, Thomas and Gregoire/Bozon may round out the top 9.
The impressive part of these line combinations is the versatility with many of them playing multiple positions through junior and pro ranks.
This provides the IceCaps with potentially the deepest front nine in the Eastern conference, but certainly the most potential. If the Canadiens can remain healthy this year, residents of St. John’s will be in for a treat watching this team and you can feel the anticipation in the air.
Canadiens reassign Scherbak to St. John’s
1ST ROUND PICK TO JOIN ICECAPS CAMP
St. John’s IceCaps MEDIA RELEASE
MONTREAL, QC. — The Montreal Canadiens announced Monday night that forward Nikita Scherbak has been reassigned to St. John’s. The team tweeted the transaction following its game vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins in Quebec City.
The IceCaps now have 29 players in camp (17 forwards, nine defencemen, three goaltenders).