The St. John’s IceCaps had 14 games on tap during the month of November, and managed to take home the win in just over half of them. Five of their victories came on home ice with just three on the road, to finish the month in fourth place in the North Division with 23 points (11-10-1-0).
There were opportunities aplenty for some of the IceCaps’ top performers to earn a call-up to the big league last month.
With the likes of Artturi Lehkonen, Nathan Beaulieu, Zach Redmond, Brian Flynn, and Alexander Radulov missing games due to either illness or injury, six IceCaps found themselves heading to Montreal.
Joel Hanley and Daniel Carr were the first two to get the call at the beginning of the month.
Sven Andrighetto was recalled the following week, with Chris Terry and Charles Hudon the week after that. Mark Barberio was the final player to get a call on November 25 after Nathan Beaulieu took a puck to the throat during a match against the Ottawa Senators.
After failing to produce any points during his four-game stint with the Habs, Andrighetto was sent down just days after Hudon’s arrival, and Hanley was pushed aside to make room for Barberio.
With Flynn on the mend, Terry was sent back to the IceCaps on December 1 with only one point (1A) to show in five games with the Habs.
Carr is the only IceCap who remains on the Canadiens’ active roster, tallying two points (1G, 1A) in 11 games.
During a weekend series against the Providence Bruins on November 25 and 26, Redmond had a brief conditioning stint with the IceCaps before returning to the Canadiens the following week.
On the flip side, Connor Crisp bounced between the Brampton Beast and the IceCaps four times last month. During his time with the Beast, Crisp scored at a point-per-game pace, with six points (4G, 2A) in six games.
Hudon’s time with the Habs was cut short after he sustained an injury during practice on November 25. He received a puck to the chest, resulting in a fractured sternum and will be out indefinitely.
He registered a pair of assists in three games while up with the Habs and was also one of the IceCaps top point leaders, racking up almost a point per game, with 14 points (9G, 5A) in 15 games.
The loss of Hudon will be a hard pill to swallow, and who knows what kind of setback he will face regarding his chance in the NHL when he returns to the ice.
- It looks as if Nikita Scherbak has his groove back. During the month of November, he tripled his points, going from five at the end of October, to 17 points (9G, 8A) by the end of November, making him the team leader in points.
- It’s no surprise that Andrighetto continues to stay near the top with 16 points (6G, 10A) in as many games.
- Before being recalled to the Canadiens, Barberio was not only be the IceCaps’ best defenceman, but one of their top offensive players with 14 points (3G, 11A) in 18 games.
Although not yet considered a point leader, Michael McCarron has improved since last month. With just four points (0G, 4A) during October, he’s climbed up to 11 points (3G, 8A) and has been a more noticeable force on the ice. The concern with McCarron is his penalty minutes have also been climbing, with 40 PIMs in 20 games so far this season. Let’s hope McCarron sticks to honing his skills and not venture down the Mr. Tough Guy road.
Check out who made our IceCaps Three Stars list this month.
The final game of the month started with a real head-scratcher.
For reasons unknown, coach Sylvain Lefebvre decided to put his leading scorer on the fourth line to start Wednesday night’s home game against the Syracuse Crunch. Obviously Lefebvre was trying to teach Scherbak some kind of lesson, but putting him on the fourth line wasn’t humiliation enough.
Dressed and ready to go, Scherbak remained on the bench until the second period began.
Once he was finally allowed to play, Scherbak made his presence known, notching his ninth goal of the season to pull the team into a 1-1 tie. Just three minutes later, he added a helper on Markus Eisenschmid’s go-ahead goal.
Scherbak responds to his benching with his ninth goal of the year! pic.twitter.com/3isgqnG0BC— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) December 1, 2016
- Yann Danis had his first win as an IceCap netminder. On November 19, he turned aside 26 shots to help get a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Marlies.
- Stefan Matteau served a one-game suspension after spearing a Syracuse Crunch player during the November 29 matchup.
- The IceCaps are at the top of their division in power-play percentage with a 24.4% efficiency rate. Their penalty kill, however, has them ranked third of seven teams in the North Division, at 79.8%.
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The IceCaps will still be at home for their first games of December, in a weekend series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on December 3 and 4.