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IceCaps game preview: St. John’s is looking for a strong finish to the road trip in Pennsylvania

The IceCaps have three games on tap this week, including a rematch against the Penguins, and a pair against the Phantoms.

St. John’s IceCaps/Colin Peddle

Life is not going to get easier for the St. John’s IceCaps during the second half of their six-game road trip. After taking home the win last Friday night against the top team in the American Hockey League, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, they’re lined up for a rematch this evening.

Then it’s off to a weekend series against the second-best team in the League, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, on Friday and Saturday.

The IceCaps started their road trip last week by defeating the Penguins, but then dropped two games to the Hershey Bears in a difficult three-games-in-three-nights schedule.

The victory against the Penguins was only Charlie Lindgren’s second win in his last 10 starts. Meanwhile, Yann Danis had his worst start of the season in the first game against the Bears, posting a .773 save percentage.

Daniel Carr and Chris Terry led the offence for the IceCaps with two goals and three assists each in three games. Michael McCarron and Charles Hudon each had one goal and two assists, while Zach Redmond pitched in with two assists.

The IceCaps were, for the most part, clicking offensively, but after a strong November and December showing, Daniel Audette and Nikita Scherbak have all but disappeared from the scoresheet. Scherbak was plagued with injuries in December, then enjoyed a brief recall to Montreal in January. However, since being sent back to the IceCaps, he’s only tallied one point in 11 games.

Defence remains a major concern for the IceCaps as they continue to give up high-danger chances to their opponents. With no more reinforcements coming down from the Montreal Canadiens, the IceCaps will have to figure out this problem on their own.

Wednesday, February 8, 7:00 PM EST @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

In a rematch from last week, the IceCaps head back to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza to take on the Penguins. The Penguins didn’t take their loss to the IceCaps too kindly, as it was only their fifth on home ice this season. The following evening, they crushed the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in a 7-1 victory. It’s a safe bet that the Penguins will be ready and waiting for this contest.

During their first meeting of the season last Friday, it was Michael McCarron who got the game-winning goal for the IceCaps on top of a three-point night. McCarron continues a streak of strong play in the AHL while he bides his time for his inevitable return to the NHL.

Saturday, February 10, 7:30 PM EST & Sunday, February 11, 2:00PM EST @ Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Lehigh Valley will look to rebound from their loss in the state rivalry, first against the Binghamton Senators on Wednesday before hosting the IceCaps for a pair over the weekend. The Phantoms are enjoying a very strong home record, having only lost five times at home all season.

The Phantoms are led by Jordan Weal, who has 45 points in 42 games (good enough for second in AHL scoring), and T.J. Brennan who is the highest-scoring defenceman in the league with 37 points. Alex Lyon has had the lion’s share of starts in nets for the Phantoms, with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage in 29 games.

The IceCaps lost both games last season against the Phantoms rather definitively. The weekend series will be their first chance at redemption.

As always, you can watch the games on, listen to them on KIXX Country, and read about them on EOTP.

Listen to Andrew weekly on TSN 690 Radio Sundays at 8:05am on Habs Breakfast, part of Weekend Game Plan.