IceCaps split series with Devils, remain in playoff hunt
The St.John's IceCaps have maintained a consistency at home all season; however, it's not the type of consistency Head Coach Keith McCambridge has been hoping for.
The IceCaps have lost every second game of their home-and-home series this season, putting them at a perfect four wins and four losses at home in eight games... Or, not so perfect, according to their coach.
“It's not even close to good enough for me right now," he said. "It looked like we were playing with a tennis ball and they were playing with a hockey puck out there.”
The IceCaps have struggled to find offence on the road, scoring six goals in five road games before returning home for Friday's match.
The IceCaps celebrated Military Appreciation night on Friday, Nov. 16, against the Albany Devils, with their own gun show, firing on all cylinders from puck-drop to shootout to win 4-3.
Captain Jason Jaffray won the game for St. John's in the shootout and goalie Mark Dekanich robbed the Devils on four straight to end it.
The captain waited out Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid on the winner, adding, “I tried not to think about a move going down and take what the goalie gave me.”
In Saturday night's game (Nov. 17), the Devils outshone the IceCaps, winning 5-3 despite being outshot 45-33.
Devils netminder Jeff Frazee stopped 21 shots in the third to hold on to the lead for the visiting team, including several attempts on a frantic 6-on-3 (thanks to a 2-man advantage and a pulled goalie for the IceCaps).
IceCaps defenceman Dean Arsene pulled no punches when explaining his team's defensive performance Saturday night.
“We have got to clean up our own zone,” he said. “That's what is killing us right now. In our own zone we are just running around.”
Despite splitting the home series with the Devils, The IceCaps are at 14 points on the season, tied for eighth in the Eastern conference (although they have played an extra game).
On a positive note, the IceCaps have managed to breathe some life into an offence that struggled on the road.
St.John's managed six goals in their first two home games of November, but McCambridge feels the team's execution is still off, mentioning that the penalty kill is “low” on the list of priorities until other areas of the team's play are resolved.
With Saturday's loss, the IceCaps are now one game under .500 (7-8-0-0).