Published on May 11, 2012
St. John's IceCaps' winger Maxime Macenauer (left) moves the puck in front of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' defenceman Simon Despres during Game 5 of their AHL second-round playoff series in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Tuesday night. Macenauer, along with centre Patrice Cormier and right-winger Spencer Machacek, have formed an effective line in the three games they have been together, but off the three, only Macenauer has a goal in this series. — Photo by Mark Moran/The Citizens' Voice
Fans asked to wear white to support team
Danny Williams wants to see a whiteout inside Mile One Centre tonight, as the St. John’s IceCaps attempt to storm into the next round of Calder Cup playoffs.
A win in Game 6 of the semifinals tonight over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will allow the IceCaps to advance to the next round.
To show their support, fans are being asked to wear white to tonight’s game.
“Our fans have demonstrated incredible support for our team during the playoff games so far, and we want to continue to show our players and coaches and the entire staff that we are behind them all the way,” said Williams.
Seeing fan support helps to inspire the team, said Williams.
“The team is giving spectators superb hockey, so as they return home let’s get behind them and let them know that they have our full support by washing Mile One in a white wave again this weekend,” he said.
The IceCaps lead the best of seven series three games to two.
If necessary, Game 7 will be played Saturday at Mile One Centre.
Trio gets high marks, but looks to contribute more
The three-piston engine that is the St. John’s IceCaps’ line of Spencer Machacek, Patrice Cormier and Maxime Macenuer has been revving high in the second round of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoffs. Of that there is no doubt.
But while the line has been consistent in its two-way play ever since it was put together before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, only Macenauer has produced a goal in the last three games of the series.
They’ll be looking to change that tonight in Game 6 of the best-of-seven series at Mile One Centre, where the IceCaps get a second chance at a win that will advance them to the next round. They lead the series 3-2 after a 3-2 double overtime loss to the Penguins Tuesday night in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
“We’re generating chances. Now we need to generate goals,” said Machacek, who has six assists, but no tallies through nine playoff games this spring.
“In the playoffs, we know it’s harder to score goals and we all take pride in our defensive-zone play, but we definitely want to contribute more (offensively). So we’ve put that onus on ourselves.”
After Tuesday’s game, St. John’s head coach Keith McCambridge said he was considering some adjustments to the forward lines in an effort to produce more offence, but won’t be making any changes to the unit centred by Cormier.
“I like that line. It’s been really effective,” said McCambridge Thursday after an IceCaps practice at Mile One. “They’re strong on forecheck, creating turnovers and generating chances.
“I think it’s just a matter of time for them.”
For example, on Tuesday, Macenauer had what looked to be a first-period marker waved off when a linesman insisted the puck was kicked in (the IceCaps disagreed then and still do).
“And we had another real good chance late in the third and one where Mach had a shot that just hit the goalie’s glove and went wide,” said Cormier, who scored twice in a first-round series win over Syracuse, but doesn’t have a point in the first five games of this series.
“We talk about it. We talked about it this morning,” said Cormier on Thursday. “We’re trying to be strong defensively and I think we’re doing the job there. Offensively, we’re working on it. We want to produce more that’s for sure. We want to be difference-makers at both ends of the ice.”
In a development that would make Christopher Walken’s Saturday Night Live character Bruce Dickinson happy, word is that Grant Maddigan, the member of the IceCaps’ game-day crew who runs up and down the aisle in section 117 clanking a cowbell during games, will be back tonight and it appears he’ll have some clanking support.
During the last playoff home game, Maddigan’s cowbelling was abbreviated, apparently after an encounter with an objecting fan. However, word on the social media is that a number of people in the section will be bringing their own cowbells to tonight’s contest and that local sales of the instrument have spiked.
As for Maddigan, a piece on IceCaps TV on the team’s official website seems to suggest he will definitely be back tonight. Go to stjohnsicecaps.com or the team’s Facebook site to see the report by Colin Fardy, the club’s digital media coordinator. Or you can use the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=r_FG8F69K0I
And if you don’t know Walken’s Dickinson character and the famous SNL “More Cowbell” sketch, do yourself a favour and Google that, too.
From the rink to the ring
As the AHL’s Penguins’ assistant equipment manager, Josh Richards is constantly wrestling with the team’s gear as they travel on the road. But Richards’ wrestling won’t stop whenever Wilkes-Barre’s season ends. That’s when Richards turns into Head “The IceCrusher,” his wrestling alter ego. “Head” is in reference to his prominent noggin, while the rest is in reference to his regular job. His signature move is known as “The Headliner.”
Richards partners up with Ritch Howe to form “The Westies,” a tag-team duo that wrestles and has won belts in regional circuits in Pennsylvania and neighbouring states. The red-headed Richards also has plans for another tag team known as “Ginger Nation.”
A high school baseball player, Richards got into wrestling “for fun,” but began to take it more seriously after studying for six months with former WWF star Tom Rumsby, better known to wrestling fans as “The Executioner.”
Search YouTube — “The Westies” + wrestling — to get a look at Richards (he’s the taller guy) and Howe.
Comedian/actor and sometimes sportscaster Gerry Dee has offered the IceCaps an incentive for a Game 6 win: tickets to his Saturday-night show at Holy Heart Theatre.
Of course, for the IceCaps to take advantage, they’ll need to avoid having the series with the Penguins go to a Game 7 Saturday night at Mile One.
Here’s a Twitter exchange between Dee and injured IceCaps captain Jason Jaffray, who will behind the bench as part of the St. John’s coaching staff tonight:
From Dee: @IceCapsAHL Good luck Friday. After you win, come by my show on Saturday. Tickets for the team!
From Jaffray: @gerrydee The Icecaps boys would love to come to your show Saturday! But we need a big win tomorrow night first. Mile One will be rocking!