IceCaps split home weekend for third time
Inconsistency is the only consistent theme so far this season at home for the St. John's IceCaps (4-4-0).
The team has made a habit of winning their first game in a series, and dropping points the next night.
The story was no different against the Norfolk Admirals, Oct. 27 and 28, as the IceCaps won a lively and spirited duel Saturday night (3-2), and lost Sunday afternoon (2-0).
Sunday's contest saw Eddie Pasquale take net for the Caps, and Igor Bobkov take over net duty for the Admirals.
Though out-shooting the Admirals, 38 to 27, the IceCaps were unable to bury a chance. This was mostly the result of Bobkov having himself a phenomenal night, but the IceCaps also failed to capitalize on a handful of key chances.
Admirals defenceman Sami Vatanen stood out for the Admirals, scoring a goal on Saturday night and leading the rush on dozens of occasions. He is poised on the puck and possesses a wealth of ofeensive ability.
On Sunday, Norfolk buried two chances in the second, and that proved the difference.
Rookie IceCaps defenceman Ben Chiarot was inserted into the line-up for the Norfolk series, having sat out the two Portland Pirates games during the week.
Chiarot played a solid, and simple, game of hockey.
“The more ice time I get, the better I play,” he said. “It helps my confidence. I just make the plays that I see.”
Chiarot credited the Admirals for their defensive play in the win.
“You have to give credit to their team, they were blocking a lot of shots,” he said. “It seemed like we couldn't get pucks to the net.”
The Hamilton-native feels the IceCaps played a better two games than they had in the Portland series.
“Our passes were tighter and guys were getting back harder. What happened against Portland the second game (4-0 IceCaps loss) was unacceptable. I think guys took it to heart.”
IceCaps Forward Derek Whitmore, also inserted into the line-up (after being a healthy scratch for the second game against Portland and the first against Norfolk), came out with some passionate play and hard work on the night.
“It's a little bit different for me this year,” he said. “I'm used to being a regular in the line-up, so this is an adjustment. When I get the tap, I want to be ready. I just wanted to come in tonight and play well, and compete.”
According to Whitmore, Sunday's game was a positive showing for St.John's, although the team lost.
“I think tonight was probably one of our better games all year. It was the most complete 60. But, at the end of day, there is two points we didn't get.”
In their first season home-stand (six games), the IceCaps went 50 per cent (winning three and losing three) ― good enough to be second in the Atlantic division, and sixth in the Eastern conference.