Rubber match rebound

Brendan McCarthy
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Machacek records hat trick as IceCaps trounce Bulldogs 6-0 in rematch at Mile One

The St. John's IceCaps’ Spencer Machacek (right) scores on Hamilton Bulldogs goaltender Nathan Lawson as Bulldogs centre Gabriel Dumont tries to dig the puck from the back of the net Wednesday night at Mile One Centre. Machacek had three goals as the IceCaps responded to a Tuesday-night loss with a convincing 6-0 win over the visiting Bulldogs. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Given the digital world we live in, the day may soon be coming when one can read a news story to the accompaniment of specially-selected, suitable thematic music.

If that day were today, then as you peruse these lines, you might be listening to “What A Diff’rence A Day Makes” as performed by many artists, including Rod Stewart just a couple of years ago.

“What a diff’rence a day makes. Twenty-four little hours brought the sun and the flowers where there used to be rain” goes the opening stanza of the song.

So it went for the St. John’s IceCaps this week at Mile One Centre, where on consecutive nights against the Hamilton Bulldogs they delivered perhaps their most disappointing outing of the 2011-12 American Hockey League season then followed it up with what could qualify as their most dominant performance of the campaign.

The bounce-back game came Wednesday as St. John’s clobbered the Bulldogs 6-0.

The IceCaps’ response to a 4-2 loss Tuesday — when they were flatter than tires on a road made of glass shards — was not totally surprising; they’ve had somewhat similar rebounds at times over the past few months, but the boomerang effect has never been this pronounced. And while the Bulldogs certainly knew there’d be some kind of atmospheric change at Mile One after Tuesday, they might not have expected such a storm.

The numbers help tell the story.

• The six-goal margin Wednesday was the largest in a St. John’s win this season.

• The total of 47 shots the home side fired at Bulldogs’ goalies Nathan Lawson and Robert Mayer was just one short of the IceCaps’ season high.

• The 12 shots the IceCaps allowed were by far the fewest this season, helping provide Eddie Pasquale with one of the easiest shutouts of his career.

•Every single St. John’s skater was at least plus-one on the night (defensive partners Paul Postma and Jason DeSantis were each plus two).

And it all happened without the IceCaps having made a single lineup change from Tuesday.

“All four lines were going tonight, for sure,” said IceCaps’ forward Spencer Machacek, who had a hat trick, bumping his team-leading points total to 49.

“We got some bounces, too, but we worked hard for them.”

Zach Redmond, Aaron Gagnon and Jason Gregoire also scored for St. John’s (38-16-7), which has finished off its eight-game season series against the Bulldogs (27-28-5), each team having won eight games.

“We were lucky to get the chance to bounce back quickly with a game the next night, and playing the same team helps,” added Machacek, who said the IceCaps’ resolve to be better Wednesday was mostly a quiet one.

“There wasn’t too much yelling,” he said about the immediate aftermath Tuesday and the morning skate on Wednesday.

“We all knew what had to happen.”

St. John’s coach Keith McCambridge was obviously pleased with his team in the rematch, but not surprised by the showing. He says the internal workings of the dressing room and the IceCaps’ veteran leadership have developed to the point where such a turnaround is not only possible, but to an extent, predictable.

“There comes a point in every pro hockey team’s season, (during) the journey that we go on, where the room starts to roll with making sure everybody is accountable, making sure everybody is performing at a high level,” said McCambridge.

“It has to happen. If it doesn’t happen, it’s concerning.

“(But) it’s taken place in that room, where the guys know what the expectations are and what they have to do to win hockey games.”

Machacek’s first goal of the night came 15 minutes in and Redmond’s tally — on a well-placed snap shot two minutes later — made it 2-0 going into the first intermission. But McCambridge says even if Wednesday’s game had been scoreless after 20 minutes — as it had been through one period Tuesday — his disposition would still have been much improved.

“A hundred percent better,” he said. “You could just see we were all over pucks. We had energy. We had jump. We were moving. We were skating. Last night, we were standing around, just watching Hamilton.

“Tonight, you could sense right from the start ... that they knew the way they had to play and they were ready to play that way.”

He and IceCaps fans will be counting on more of the same this St. Patrick’s weekend when St. John’s hosts the Manchester Monarchs Saturday and Sunday at Mile One.

 

Notes: The Molson Cup three stars Wednesday: 1. Spencer Machacek, three goals; 2. IceCaps’ captain Jason Jaffray, three assist 3. Zach Redmond (goal, assist) ... The Mary Brown’s hardest-working IceCap: John Negrin ... All the St. John’s scratches are dealing with injuries, to varying degrees. They include goalie David Aebischer, defencemen Brett Festerling and Derek Meech and forwards Garth Murray, Maxime Macenauer, Brock Trotter and Marco Rosa, who hasn’t played since before Christmas because of concussion symptoms, but is back after St. John’s after time in Toronto and Winnipeg ... On Wednesday, Hamilton lost veteran defenceman Frederic St. Denis on recall to the parent Montreal Canadiens ...The IceCaps have released a set of 26 collectible hockey cards featuring 24 players, a team photo card as well as opening-night feature card. Sets, at a retail price of $12.95 plus tax, are available at IceCaps Alley at Mile One Centre, North Atlantic’s Orange Stores, That Pro Look in the Avalon Mall and Maverick Sports and Collectibles on Water Street in St. John’s.

 

bmcc@thetelegram.com

Organizations: IceCaps, American Hockey League, Molson Montreal Canadiens

Geographic location: Toronto, Winnipeg, North Atlantic Water Street

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Recent comments

  • Dude
    March 15, 2012 - 10:19

    Gee Kevin...tell us how you really feel

  • Dennis Squires
    March 15, 2012 - 10:13

    Kevin, perhaps if you based your conclusion on more then one game you'd actually have a paragraph worth reading. Earlier this week Mile One Stadium was rocking to the tune of IceCap fans while the team took on the Hershey Bears. It's no surprise Alcohol will always bring the life out of people, and unless your working in Alberta and home on a turn around, most people have to get up and work on a Thursday morning. Weekday, and Sunday games are always on the boring side, for that reason. Try taking in a game this coming weekend before you try and call anyone out. Or at the very least base your conclusion on more then one outing. It's a shame you didn't purchase season tickets. You're missing some incredible hockey. Enjoy your popsicle stick baby-barn while listening to Brian Rogers. Go Caps Go

  • cathy
    March 15, 2012 - 10:07

    got to agree with kevin...that had to be the most boring game of hockey i've seen in a long time...glad the ice caps won but it would've been nice to see the other team play somewhat ...But kevin not all the games are like that ....i've seen some good hockey over the past year and will see it again....it was just one of those nights...

  • sheehan
    March 15, 2012 - 09:49

    Bang on Kevin. One notch up from a morgue down there. I can think of a few things that could improve it - a working screen at centre ice for one thing. And they have to give up having young girls sing the anthem. Get someone out there who can rile the crowd up a bit with a rousing rendition. They've had a couple of singers this year who did that, a blonde girl and a guy with a beard......hire them on permanently. And how about the sound people try to get a chant going......oh wait, can't do that without a score clock screen.

  • Kevin Malone
    March 15, 2012 - 08:24

    To say that Wednesday night’s game was ‘good’ would be incorrect. Boring would be a better term. Our local team won 6-0 and totally dominated the Bulldogs, yet you could hear a pin drop at Mile One. Danny should ask for a refund on his naming rights of Mile One, as it needs to be changed soon to “The Graveyard”. The IcaCaps dominated scoring 6 goals, earning a shutout, although Pat Dempsey, at his age now, could’ve earned a shutout last night. When your local team dominates from start to finish, and the biggest cheer drawn on the night is during reruns of Americas Funniest Home Videos during a TV timeout, there are problems. Add in the fact that fans may be forced to wear a Rick Vaive neckguard at years end having to turn around in their seats to see it on a screen. Several fans at the game compared the atmosphere at Mile One to Caul’s. These comments drew ire at first, but none could be truer. I am elated I did not purchase season tickets as after seeing with my own eyes what I saw at Mile One last night I would rather buy $26 worth of popsicle sticks and build a baby barn. A 6-0 win you’d think would bring fans to their feet, instead fans sat idly waiting for the 50-50 number to be drawn so they could exit to get a beat on traffic out of the downtown core. Where have all the true hockey fans gone? You know who you are, the passionate ones from St. Bons, Blue Caps, Shamrocks, St. John’s Caps, St. John’s Maple Leafs days. Is it the ticket prices? Now that only the upper echelon of society can purchase season tickets, is it the reason why there are fewer die hard true hockey fans. What is now determined as a night of enjoyment/entertainment was nothing short of a yawner. I for one was not entertained last night. How that team with only 12 shots last night beat the IceCaps on Tuesday night I’ll never know. Thought it falls short, it is comparable to a Mike Eruzione – Ken Morrow like night in Lake Placid in 1980. Our team is in 1st place with a morgue like fan base.

    • Steve Smyth
      March 15, 2012 - 12:47

      The music is too loud. Watch video of the first season and you'll notice one thing, the music, if there is any played during the stoppage, is so quiet, it actually lets the fans be vocal. In game 7 footage vs. the Red Wings, the whole crowd is chanting "Bester, Bester" during a stoppage in play and you can hear everyone with no music at all. Want the crowd in the game? Turn down the music.