As is the norm for the St. John’s IceCaps, their home stands and road trips come in bunches to help them manage travel costs. After playing eight games on home ice with a rather disappointing four wins and four losses, the IceCaps now head on the road for ten straight games. Not veering too far away from the 0.500 mark for points percentage earned, the team will need to have their first winning road trip this season if they hope to improve their current standing in their division. Three games against divisional rivals with worse records than the IceCaps will set the stage for the critical road trip.
Currently sitting in fourth place in the North Division, the IceCaps would not qualify for the playoffs if they were to start today, falling quite short to even capture one of the two wildcard spots available.
Wednesday, December 14th, @ Binghamton Senators
For at least the first game of the week the IceCaps will be able to count on the added offensive punch of Marc Barberio and Sven Andrighetto who were returned from the Montreal Canadiens. Along with Charles Hudon and Chris Terry, the IceCaps will have most of their best scorers of the season available to them, making this a must-win game. They will have to make due without Nikita Scherbak, who is still nursing an injury.
Their opponent for the night are the Binghamton Senators, an team that has typically given the IceCaps a hard time, especially at home. However the IceCaps have beaten them twice in the last three meetings between the two clubs. St. John’s has only managed two wins in Binghamton since 2013, including the last time they faced each other earlier in the season.
On November 15th the IceCaps defeated the Senators 4-1 on the heels of an unexpected game winning goal scored by David Broll and a 31 save performance by Charlie Lindgren. Charles Hudon, Stefan Matteau, and Scherbak also scored for St. John’s.
Friday, December 16th, @ Utica Comets
The next game will see the IceCaps visit Jordan Subban and the Utica Comets for the first time this season. In two meeting so far this season, the IceCaps were victorious both times. The two game series in early November remains the last time that the IceCaps were able to sweep a two game series.
On the strength of a stacked roster, including Daniel Carr, Andrighetto, and Barberio the IceCaps soundly defeated the Comets 6-3 thanks to two goals by Hudon and singles by Carr, Scherbak, Matteau, and Bobby Farnham. Lindgren put up another 30+ save performance, the norm for him this season.
Saturday, December 17th, @ Rochester Americans
This will be fourth meeting between the two teams this season, with the IceCaps winning two out of the three games so far against the New York Rangers farm team.
The last time the two teams played against one another was in Rochester in mid-November, and it was the IceCaps who emerged with a shootout victory thanks to team specialist Daniel Audette who has gone three-for-three so far in shootouts. Markus Eisenschmid and Jeremy Gregoire provided the tertiary goal support for the IceCaps, with Barberio also adding a goal.
It’s unlikely that the IceCaps will be able to count on Barberio and Andrighetto during this game as the two should be back with Montreal before the week-end, so they will need to count on that tertiary goal support yet again if they hope to climb their way up the standings and into playoff contention.
As always, you can watch the games on AHLlive.com, but KIXX Country will not have audio of the games this week while team play-by-play veteran Brian Rogers recovers from a minor medical procedure. A recap will be available on EOTP.