After grabbing four out of a possible six points during their road trip, the St. John’s IceCaps head back home for an eight-game stretch.
During the road trip, the IceCaps found themselves teetering in and out of the final playoff spot, having one foot in fourth place and the other in fifth for the duration of the trip. With the Calder Cup playoffs just around the corner, the IceCaps still have the opportunity to claim their spot.
It’s a close race between them (66 pts in 62 games), the Utica Comets (65 pts in 61 games) and the Toronto Marlies (69 pts in 62 games).
They currently sit on the outside looking to make their way back in, as they kick off their home stand by celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with the Rochester Americans this weekend.
It was just one week ago that these two teams faced-off. The IceCaps have a winning record when it comes to taking on the last place Americans, coming out on the winning end of four out of the six meetings they’ve had this season. The series this weekend will mark their final contest of the 2016-17 season.
The top line of Nikita Scherbak, Chris Terry and Charles Hudon cooled off during the road trip with a mere five points (3 G, 2 A) in four games. A far cry from the hot February where the line had a combined total of 46 points (19 G, 27 A) in just 12 games.
Last Friday, March 10, the IceCaps took home a 3-2 victory against the Americans with both Bobby Farnham and Max Friberg having a two-point night.
It was a back-and-forth game for the first two periods. Alexander Nylander opened the scoring early, giving the Americans the lead at 3:13 into the opening frame.
The IceCaps didn’t get on the board until the start of the second period. Jacob de la Rose, from Farnham and Keegan Lowe, stretched his point streak (3 G, 1 A) to four games when he notched the equalizer at 4:28.
Rochester inched ahead again mid-way through the period before a pass by Brett Lernout allowed Friberg to go end-to-end to tie it up.
With 36 seconds left in the period, Farnham fought for the puck behind the net and, for his efforts, was able to slip one past goaltender Linus Ullmark for the game-winning goal.
Both teams were scoreless in the third. The victory didn’t give the IceCaps the final playoff spot, but their win over the Syracuse Crunch the following evening did. Even if it was, once again, short lived.
Neither team were able to take advantage of the few power play opportunities that came their way, but it was the IceCaps who piled on the pressure by out shooting the Americans 33-20, and were awarded the victory in the process.
The IceCaps will need to tie their laces tight during this home stand. Despite their spot in the standings, they’ll have to face fifth place Hershey Bears and sixth place Binghamton Senators, both of whom the IceCaps have had a tough time against so far this season.