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St. John's IceCaps Game Preview: Portland Pirates & Hartford Wolf Pack

In the second half of their road trip, the IceCaps are ready to take on the Pirates and a Wolf Pack.

St. John's IceCaps / Colin Peddle

After falling to the Bridgeport Wolf Pack 2-1 in overtime, the IceCaps turned it around when they faced the Albany Devils in a weekend series. Coming from behind, they beat the Devils 4-2 in their first meeting Friday evening and kept the momentum going Saturday afternoon when they doubled the Devils 2-1.

Up next:

Portland Pirates - January 27th and 29th

Last time they met: January 8th (5-1 loss)

Even though the IceCaps were back on home turf, it was the beginning of a very bad home stand. The team looked tired, played slow and looked unorganized.

Zach Fucale seemed to be carrying the workload with little support from his team mates. In the opening frame alone, he faced 20 shots allowing two to slip past him. By the end of the third, Fucale kicked out 32 of 36 shots and Bud Holloway scored the lone goal on a power play.

While it was just the second regulation loss at home for the IceCaps, it was a bad one all around.

The win gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the 2nd annual Eimskip Port-to-Port Challenge. Eimskip, which has offices in both port cities, is the title partner for the challenge. The Eimskip Port-to-Port Challenge Cup is awarded to the team that finishes with the best win-loss record in the four contests between the IceCaps and the Pirates. The IceCaps brought home the inaugural crown last year.

In other news, this is where we said good-bye to goaltender Dustin Tokarski and hello to Anaheim's right-winger Max Friberg.

January 9th (4-1 loss)

Despite Sylvain Lefebvre's line-juggling, the IceCaps had an even rougher start that the previous night. The Pirates scored three first period goals in the first 11 minutes, mixing it up with 5-on-5, power play and shorthanded goals.

Just halfway through the opening period, Eddie Pasquale had to hit the bench and Fucale was sent in for relief. Fucale stopped 23-of-24 shots but the damage had already been done. It was a touchy match-up, with a combined total of 66 penalty minutes, that had Dalton Thrower, Gabriel Dumont and Jermey Gregoire all dropping the gloves.

Dumont managed to put his team on the board late in the third period to prevent a shutout but the Pirates went home with the weekend sweep and a 2-0 lead in the Eimskip Port-to-Port Challenge series.

Hartford Wolf Pack - January 30th

Last time they met: October 10th (3-1 win)

It was the season opener and the IceCaps started it off with a bang. Holloway scored the first goal of the season, assisted by Dumont and Mark Barberio, displaying what a leadership team is all about. Gregoire scored his first pro-goal, which doubled as the game winner while Charles Hudon sealed the deal with an empty-netter.

The only shot that made it past Tokarski was a deflection in front of the net. All other 30-of-31 shots didn't find the back of the net.

Divisional standings:

The Portland Pirates are sitting in second place in their Atlantic Division with 49 points with the Hartford Wolf Pack just five points behind in fifth place. In the North Division, the St. John's IceCaps have climbed back up to third place with 47 points.