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: Connor Crisp (undisclosed), Jacob De la Rose (lower-body), Nikita Scherbak (undisclosed), Mac Bennett (undisclosed), Markus Eisenschmid (undisclosed), Joel Hanley (undisclosed) Injured reserve: Ryan Johnston (back surgery)
The IceCaps came out strong Friday night when they took to the Mile One ice against the Syracuse Crunch. They skated hard, maintained pressure, and kept the Crunch on a defensive stance. But discipline soon became an issue once again, with two minor penalties going against St. John’s in the first period alone.
Neither team found the back of the net in that opening frame, but Sven Andrighetto potted a power play goal just a few minutes into the second period, his fifth of the season. Stefan Fournier followed that with an even-strength goal just a minute and a half later and the IceCaps looked to have the dominant momentum.
Then came more penalties, five total for the IceCaps on the night, and Syracuse started to wear down the home team. The latter portion of the second period and the entirety of the third were slow and sloppy for the IceCaps as the two teams traded goals back and forth.
An ill-timed penalty against Mike McCarron late in the third provided an opening for the game tying Syracuse goal, and for the third consecutive game the IceCaps headed to overtime. It took less than a minute for Andrighetto to end the evening the same way he started it, clinching the OT win for his team.
Ottawa, Vancouver affiliates among teams in North Division
St. John’s IceCaps Media Release
ST. JOHN’S, NL. – The St. John’s IceCaps – proud new American Hockey League affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens – will move to a newly-formed division next season which includes natural rival, the Toronto Marlies.
As part of league realignment announced by the AHL today in Chicago, the IceCaps will now play in the North Division of the Eastern Conference alongside the Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs), Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators), Utica Comets (Vancouver Canucks), Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres), Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils).
In their previous four seasons, the IceCaps competed in the Atlantic Division with the Portland Pirates, Worcester Sharks, Providence Bruins and Manchester Monarchs.
“We’re thrilled to be part of this new AHL division,” said IceCaps COO and Governor Glenn Stanford. “The IceCaps rivalries with the Marlies and Senators will become some of the most heated in the league, as they currently are with the respective parent clubs. And I’m sure rivalries with our other new division-mates will develop once the season gets underway. St. John’s fans will also get their first-ever glimpse of teams like Rochester and Utica next season. Overall, a great day to be an IceCaps fan.”
IceCaps Season tickets can be purchased in person at the Mile One Centre box office (noon-5 p.m.), by phone at 709-576-7657 (9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.), or online at www.mileonecentre.com
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The format for the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs will be finalized by the Board of Governors at its Annual Meeting in Hilton Head Island, S.C., July 6-9, and the complete playing schedule for the 2015-16 regular season, which begins Oct. 9, will be announced later this summer.
HAMILTON, ON – It was a tough fan appreciation night in Hamilton Saturday, as the Bulldogs closed the book on a disappointing 2013-14 season with their 35th loss, unable to reach the .500 mark on the season which was in play.
Newcomer Jack Nevins gave fans something to get excited about just 14 seconds after opening puckdrop, engaging in a fight with defenseman Joey Mormina, and quickly wrestling him to the ice.
The ‘Dogs carried momentum into the game’s first powerplay, as Mormina sat in the box again for a trip. Nathan Beaulieu pinched downlow, and Mike Blunden found a seam cross-crease, enabling an easy tap-in for the offensive-minded blueliner.
“That was a designed pass. I actually pass the puck,” joked Blunden post-game, making light of his own hands of stone. “I was looking for [Dumont], I kinda lost the puck a bit, and then I just wired at [Beaulieu] right at the net.”
But it wouldn’t be one final game in Hamilton this season if the team didn’t carry on their tradition of tough second periods. The ‘Dogs looked like they might survive despite being thoroughly outshot, until the final five minutes when a pair of strange bounces did them in. First it was multiple giveaways, followed up by an Evan Rankin centering pass deflected off defenseman Joel Chouinard and behind Dustin Tokarski, knotting the game at one.
Just over a minute later, a Luke Witkowski attempted dump-in took a funny hop off Nathan Beaulieu‘s leg and also beat a slow-to-react Tokarski, allowing the visitors to take their first lead of the night into the second intermission.
For a team playing what could be its final twenty minutes of the campaign, the ‘Dogs seemed eager to start vacation, with a fast-moving third yielding few scoring chances, other than a hard Greg Pateryn wrister that made it through a dense crowd but was still stopped by Cedric Desjardins. Then, just after an indisciplined penalty to Nick Tarnasky had expired, Jonathan Marchessault held the puck on a 3-on-1, froze Tokarski in his stance, and whipped a wrist shot through his five hole for an insurance marker that would put an end to Hamilton’s inconsistent year that unfortunately featured far more downs than ups.
“Our powerplay in the second period set the tone. We didn’t generate anything,” summarized coach Sylvain Lefebvre. “We had five shots in the period. We didn’t play well enough to win the game.” As to why, that middle stanza has been the team’s plague all season, Lefebvre had no answers. “If I knew, we wouldn’t be standing here talking like this.”
The loss means the ‘Dogs finish the year at 33-35-1-7, missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season. Prior to the game, end-of-year awards were given to Dustin Tokarski (MVP), Greg Pateryn (top d-man), Sven Andrighetto (top rookie), Gabriel Dumont (fan favourite), and Morgan Ellis (community involvement).
On being named most valuable player, the team’s starting netminder said he was satisfied with his own season amidst disappointment on the team’s lack of success. “I wanted to come in and turn some heads. Make management have some hard decisions. I think I was able to do that. But on the AHL level, you want to be in the playoffs right now and not going home. That’s tough to take in, but I think the team made strides from last season. It’s a great honour [to be named MVP]. Every guy in the room plays their heart out for the team; I’m the lucky one to be named MVP.”
After signing a 2-year deal with the Canadiens organization last week, Tokarski added that he feels he’s found a good fit for himself. “Montreal has treated me great since I’ve been here. Showed confidence in me. I’m ready to continue to work hard, and have a great summer. Montreal is all class, and to be part of it is real special.”
Post-game, the remaining awards were distributed, going to Martin St. Pierre (top scorer), Tokarski (Molson Cup / 3 stars), and Mike Blunden (hardest worker). Blunden, a pending unrestricted free agent, said he hasn’t given much though to his playing future after serving in a valuable leadership role this season. “I was focused on this year. Having a strong year. I’ve had a lot of fun, and now I”ll take a couple of weeks and think about it. I was joking with [Dumont] that he’ll probably have a better winger next year with much better hands.”
And with that, the ‘Dogs set sail for the off-season. A number of players are expected to head to Montreal Sunday to form a group of “black aces,” skating and practicing to stay in top form in case injury strikes the Canadiens during post-season play and they are pressed into service. The group should include Beaulieu, Pateryn, and Dumont, among others.
MONTREAL, QC – Coach Sylvain Lefebvre has long talked about needing a 60-minute effort, and it seems his team is finally listening. For the second night in a row, the Hamilton Bulldogs competed hard from puck drop to final whistle, defeating a quality opponent in the Syracuse Crunch by a 4-1 final. The game was the Bulldogs’ first of two trips to the Bell Centre in Montreal this season, and represented their third straight victory, coming immediately on the heels of what had been a six-game losing straight, and propelling the team back above the .500 mark.
Though the most dominant players on ice in a sloppy opening period were the Crunch’s Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Kucherov, it was Hamilton’s most dangerous line – that of Mike Blunden, Gabriel Dumont, and Justin Courtnall – that opened the scoring. Dumont led a great individual rush, opening up a 2-on-1 with Blunden, and forcing the lone defender to commit before dropping the puck on to Blunden’s stick. From there, all Blunden had to do was fire a shot through Cedric Desjardins and up just under the bar for a 1-0 lead. Blunden, Dumont, and Courtnall have been Hamilton’s best unit since being put together a few games ago.
If the first period was relatively even, Hamilton took the play to Syracuse in the second. Desjardins held the Crunch in the game as long as he could – notably robbing Greg Pateryn on a hard shot from the blueline and Christian Thomas on a quick one-timer – but in a period where the ‘Dogs outshot Syracuse 15-8, he could only resist for so long. At the 11-minute mark, Martin St. Pierre led a rush and dropped the puck on to the stick of Morgan Ellis, who stepped right into a big one-timer, netting his first goal of the season.
Next it was the top line going back to work, as Geoff Courtnall pressed hard on the forecheck, and caused the Syracuse defense to turn over the puck. It bounced out to Blunden, who returned the earlier favour to Dumont, receiving a pass with an empty side of the net in front of him, and making no mistake in one-touching it for his first of the year and a 3-0 advantage.
Syracuse looked like they had gotten one back shorthanded, when the Kucherov – Namestnikov pair led a breakout, but after a first shot block by a diving Christian Thomas, the goal scored when the puck was kicked back out front was waved off as the net had been knocked off its moorings. It was the second disallowed goal for the Crunch on the night, after earlier having one reversed due to incidental contact with Dustin Tokarski in front of the net.
Hamilton reverted into a defensive shell for much of the third, clearly intent on making Tokarski earn the win. The goaltender stood tall until a goalmouth scramble with under five to play saw a puck trickle through him, with credit given to former Hab defenseman J.P. Cote. While losing the shutout was unfortunate for Tokarski on a personal level, the Bulldogs held the lead the rest of the way, with Blunden finishing a great night at the office by hitting an empty net. The 4-1 victory was Hamilton’s third straight straight win, coming immediately on the heels of what had been a six-game losing straight, and propelling the team back above the .500 mark.
Other than the sixty minute effort, the talk post-game focused on the jackpot Lefebvre hit by putting Dumont, Blunden, and Courtnall together. Not only were they the team’s spark offensively, but they matched up against Kucherov and Namestnikov most of the evening, shutting down the pair that looked far too good to be playing at the American Hockey League level.
“I just saw him out there. We practice 2-on-1s pretty often, and we try to go together because we know we’re on the same line. I knew he was gonna post out there. I knew if I had [that defenseman] beat, if I left it there for [Blunden], he was gonna score,” described Dumont of his set-up on Blunden’s first marker.
“Justin came in and we didn’t know much about him. He fought for his place on the team, and since the beginning of the year, he improves every game. He works very hard. Fearless. He completes us pretty well since we play a pretty simple north-south game,” Dumont added on the third member of his trio, whose name didn’t appear on the scoresheet on this night, but whose eff0rt was instrumental to creating Dumont’s goal.
Blunden had equally as glowing reviews for his linemates. “Justin and Gab just work their butts off. I try to do the same thing. We work the D down low, and we scored a couple of goals tonight. We talk a lot, and it’s going well, so hopefully we can keep it going. I’ve really enjoyed our line.”
The Bulldogs complete a “home and home” with Syracuse, travelling to visit the Crunch Saturday night, with the Tampa Bay Lightning affiliate looking for revenge.
Bulldogs to play host to Syracuse and Binghamton at the Bell Centre in 2013-14
Thursday, 19.09.2013 / 4:46 PM / News
MONTREAL – The Hamilton Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, will play two games on the Bell Centre ice during the 2013-14 regular season. Under the direction of former Canadiens defenseman and Hamilton head coach Sylvain Lefebvre, the Bulldogs will successively host the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, on November 22 and the Binghamton Senators, Ottawa’s AHL farm team, on February 21, 2014.
The two games from the Bulldogs 2013-14 regular season schedule will give Montreal hockey fans an opportunity to see some of the organization’s prospects. Last year, the Bulldogs had a 1-1 record at the Bell Centre winning 3-2 against the Rochester Americans and dropping a 4-1 decision to the Crunch.
It will be the Bulldogs’ 10th and 11th contests at the Bell Centre in the history of the AHL franchise. The Bulldogs first ever match-up at the Bell Centre was played on March 18, 2007 versus the Syracuse Crunch, just a few weeks before the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate captured the first Calder Cup in franchise history. Carey Price, the Canadiens current goaltender, was a member of that championship Bulldogs squad in 2006-07.
Tickets for those two match-ups starting as low as $15.50 will go on sale on Saturday, September 21 at 12 p.m. (noon). Family packages are available for as low as $99 and include four tickets in the reds, four hot dogs and four soft drinks. Also, fans purchasing tickets for both Bulldogs games at the Bell Centre will enjoy 15% off.
For more information on the Hamilton Bulldogs visit www.hamiltonbulldogs.com.
Tickets available at the Bell Centre Box Office on Saturday September 21 at 12 p.m. (noon).
Order online at: www.evenko.ca or by phone at (514) 790-2525 and 1-877-668-8269