Every week during this American Hockey League season, we’ve carried a comprehensive St. John’s IceCaps stats package on this page (see below). Here are a few stories behind some of the numbers (and names) you’ll find within that package:
4 — The magic number — in terms of points — for the IceCaps to clinch a post-season berth entering this week. In other words, it will take just two wins by St. John’s to claim a playoff spot. The number also applies to any losses suffered by bubble teams Worcester and Manchester; if either the Sharks or Monarchs drop two more games in regulations, the IceCaps also clinch. What’s more, if either of those scenario (or some combination of the two) plays out, St. John’s will also be assured of first place in the Atlantic Division and a top-three seed in the conference playdowns.
11 — The number of individual players who have been recalled from the IceCaps to the parent Winnipeg Jets so far this season. That includes defencemen Mark Flood and forwards Spencer Machacek and Ben Maxwell, all currently in Winnipeg, as well as goalie Peter Mannino, rearguards Brett Festerling, Paul Postma and Arturs Kulda and forwards Jason Jaffray, Patrice Cormier, Carl Klingberg and Aaron Gagnon. In fact, outside of players acquired in mid-season trades (Ray Sawada, Maxime Macenauer, John Negrin and the injured Brock Trotter) and rookies Eddie Pasquale, Zach Redmond, Ben Chiarot, Eric O’Dell and Jason Gregoire, every single St. John’s player with an NHL contract has appeared in games with both St. John’s and Winnipeg. That includes Kenndal McArdle, loaned to Portland, and defenceman Derek Meech, who has been sidelined by a knee injury most of the season.
12 &13 — The only jersey numbers between 1 and 29 not used by an IceCap at some point this season. We assume the prospect of numerological bad luck explains 13, while 12 was worn by Manitoba Moose veteran Mike Keane and retired by the Moose before the franchise’s off-season moved to St. John’s.
24— The number of AHL games Pasquale appeared in last season with the Chicago Wolves and the reason he’s still officially considered a rookie in the AHL. Players who enter the season with fewer than 25 games of professional experience in North America (NHL or AHL) or fewer than 100 games of experience in a European elite league qualify as rookies for the purposes of the Dudley “Red” Garrett Award (AHL rookie of the year), the league’s rookie of the month awards, the AHL all-rookie team and IceCaps’ rookie honours.
1— Icecaps with a jersey number between 30 and 39. That would be Trotter, who has No. 39, but even that’s sort of a technicality because Trotter hasn’t actually played for St. John’s, Interestingly, 11 different players have worn jerseys numbered between 40 (Pasquale) and 50 (Gregoire). Why all the 40-somethings and dearth of 30-somethings? Equipment manager Ian Cox says no reason — it’s just the way things have worked out.
21— Kulda’s plus rating, by far the best on the team. Two seasons ago, while playing for the Wolves, Kulda led the AHL with a plus-46, but there were suggestions Chris Chelios, his defence partner, was the chief contributor to those impressive figures. Looks like Kulda might be proving those numbers were the result of more than Chelios’s presence.
30 — Wins the IceCaps have registered in games in which they have allowed fewer than three opposition goals. In fact, St. John’s is a perfect 30-0-0 in such situations this season. In other words, the Caps haven’t suffered any 2-1, 2-0 or 1-0 defeats.
41— Number of players who have appeared in games for St. John’s this season. That would increase to 42 if you include Chris Carrozzi, who dressed as backup goalie to Pasquale in a number of recent games, but never saw any action before being returned to the ECHL.
66— US route number of the highway that’s been referred to as the Main Street of America. Route 66 — popularized in song, a 1960s TV series and the movie Cars — runs from Chicago to southern California, which is where Icecaps’ defenceman Travis Ramsey is from. Sixty-six is also the number of regular-season contests that Ramsey, who is from the Long Beach suburb of Lakewood, has played this season, making him the only player to have appeared in every one of St. John’s games.
1.58 — Pasquale’s goals-against average this month. The IceCaps’ goalie has a .936 save percentage with two shutouts in March and has appeared in 10 straight games, starting nine of them By the way, Pasquale’s GAA has decreased each month this season. (Courtesy of Chris Doyle of the IceCaps’ communications department).