IceCaps have a hill to climb after weekend losses

Simply put, the St.John's IceCaps have a hill to climb if the team hopes to make the playoffs.

After losing 4-1 on Saturday and then 7-3 Sunday to the Connecticut Whale, the IceCaps have fallen further from the playoff picture.

The IceCaps are sitting in thirteenth in the East, five points back of eighth-place Worcester Sharks (which swept the IceCaps in their two-game series this week), and yet the IceCaps also face another playoff picture problem: they have played four more games than their eight-place rival.

On the bright side for St.John's, Aaron Gagnon made his return after missing more than a dozen games due to injury, notching two assists in his debut game Sunday. If Gagnon can find a way to chip in offensively, the IceCaps will be beyond happy. Gagnon has a high compete level and is a reliable penalty killer.

In four games, before Sunday's game, the IceCaps had only managed four goals.

The IceCaps are looking for larger offensive contributions from practically everyone at this point, but especially from NHL-potential calibre players.

Player notes from Connecticut series:

-Patrice Cormier continued showing his physical side with a fight (he also fought in the Sharks series midweek), and by throwing his body around. He is the best hitter on the IceCaps when he decides to lay the shoulder in, and the team will be looking for him to consistently show that side of his game moving forward.

-Spencer Machacek, after being called out by a local paper this weekend, played a hard-fought series and showed signs of being able to re-attain his typical AHL form of 20 goals and 50 points per season (he led all skaters with six shots Saturday night), although he was held off the score sheet this weekend.

-The fellowship of Eric O'Dell, Kael Mouillierot and Carl Klingberg continues to be the best line for the IceCaps, while captain Jason Jaffray continues to show the most clinical finishing in and around the net.