Despite the St. John's IceCaps riding some point streaks during their seven game road trip, Charles Hudon hit the 50 point mark with six goals and one assist in four games, Bud Holloway had one goal and four assists in four games and Nikita Scherbak tallied five assists three games in a row, the IceCaps did not fare well during the trip losing five out of seven contests.
With their chances of nabbing a wild card spot in the playoffs quickly becoming just a dream, they head back home this weekend in hopes to end the season on a high note.
Up Next: Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Last time they met: October 28th (5-1 loss) and 30th (3-2 win)
The last time the IceCaps faced the Phantoms, it was way back before the Montreal Canadiens snatched up Mark Barberio, Michael McCarron, Sven Andrighetto and Daniel Carr and didn't give them back (or got them injured.)
They were a team working together to find their groove and doing a pretty good job at it. Heading into their first meeting with the Phantoms, the IceCaps had won five out of their first eight contests, with just one regulation loss, then one in overtime and one in a shootout.
Fast forward five crazy months where they've had players bouncing from the NHL's Montreal Canadiens and ECHL's Brampton Beast, players switched during trades and added via Amateur Try Outs (ATO) and Professional Try Outs (PTO). This time, eight games before facing the Phantoms, the tables have turned with six losses instead of wins.
Wednesday, October 28th, marked the IceCaps first official road trip of the season, starting with the Philadelphia Flyers farm team. It was not a good start. The IceCaps had a hard time finding their get-up-and go. Probably due to playing six games in nine nights then traveling the day before the game. But them's the breaks.
Andrighetto opened the scoring mid-way through the first period during a power play, with Barberio and Holloway picking up the assists. That's the first and last time the IceCaps would find the back of the net for the rest of the night. The Phantoms scored five straight goals on the 28 shots they fired at goaltender Dustin Tokarski.
After Wednesday's game, coach Sylvain Lefebvre stated, "I know we're going to be better on Friday."
And they were.
This time rookie Zachary Fucale got the start between the pipes, stopping 23 of 25 shots he faced improving his record to 4-0 and being named the IceCaps Hardest Working Player of the night.
Andrighetto and Holloway stepped up once again with Andrighetto notching a goal and Holloway picking up two assists. Hudon got on the board during a power play, grabbing the lead in the second period to make it 2-0. When the Phantoms tied up the game in the third period, McCarron fired in a game winning goal that impressed even the opposing teams netminder, Anthony Stolarz, when he knocked a rebound out of the air on a backhand.
The wildcard spot is slipping out of reach for the St. John's IceCaps as they now sit in sixth place in the North Division with 69 points. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are even further behind in their Atlantic Division in seventh place with 65 points.
The last time these two teams met it ended in a split series. Maybe being on home ice will be the advantage the IceCaps need to kick off their last home stand of the season on a high note.