Cuts made as ‘Caps camp closes

Robin Short
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McCambridge pares roster down to 30, more cuts coming after season-opening weekend

Following an injury-riddled first year with the St. John’s IceCaps, defenceman Derek Meech (front) returned to camp healthy and ready for a full season. Meech, who signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Winnipeg Jets in July, is one of several Winnipeg Jets staying on with the IceCaps until the NHL lockout is resolved. — Telegram file photo

Keith McCambridge will get his St. John’s IceCaps through the American Hockey League’s opening weekend before deciding whether to give his roster a further trim.

As it stands, the IceCaps will open the 2012-13 AHL season with 30 players, after McCambridge cut six Monday morning.

Forward Norm Ezekiel and defenceman Cody Sol have been reassigned to the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL, while goaltender Chris Carozzi is headed back to the Ontario, Calif., Reign of the ECHL. Braydon Irwin will report to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and Mark Mitera and Chris Huxley were released outright.

Saturday, the IceCaps sent Joey Sides and Jake Marto to the Eagles, while goalie Tyler Plante forward Josh Lunden and defenceman Ryan Donald were released.

While the IceCaps are carrying a sizeable roster, at least six players are hurting.

Team captain Jason Jaffray, recovering from neck surgery last spring, won’t be available for Saturday’s opener in Springfield, Mass., against the Falcons, or Sunday’s game against the Connecticut Whale in Hartford, Conn.

Jaffray hopes to be ready for the home opener Oct. 19 against the Adirondack Phantoms.

Two players — newcomers Chris Schnell and Ray Kaunisto — are suffering from concussion-like symptoms and their status for this weekend is questionable at best.

Both are considered players on the bubble in terms of earning a roster spot with the IceCaps.

“They were injured under our watch,” said McCambridge. “We want to see how they’re doing before making a move.

“To send an injured player back to the ECHL is not something that we want to set precedent.”

Ray Sawada reported to camp with a sore hamstring, injured during training home in Richmond, B.C., and is two weeks into his four-week recovery period. He will not play this weekend.

Forward John Albert and Paul Postma both have nagging injuries, and are listed as day-to-day. They will likely be ready for the weekend.

The Crunch won the Mary Brown’s Cup Sunday at the Clarenville Events Centre, beating St. John’s 6-5 in overtime.

Ondrej Palat scored the game-winner. Alex Killorn scored three times for the winners and Cory Conacher netted a single marker.

Carl Klingberg and Zach Redmond both had two goals for the IceCaps.

The Crunch won Game 2 of the three-game exhibition series Friday night in Stephenville by a 3-2 score in a shootout. Last Thursday in Corner Brook, Syracuse thumped St. John’s 4-1 at the Pepsi Centre.

The Crunch are the former Norfolk Admirals, who won the AHL’s Calder Cup championship last season.

The parent Tampa Bay Lightning switched affiliation from Norfolk to Syracuse over the summer, while Anaheim, parent team from the Crunch last season, has moved into Norfolk this year.

The Admirals also won the Mary Brown’s Cup last season.

Organizations: IceCaps, American Hockey League, Florida Everblades Connecticut Whale Clarenville Events Centre Pepsi Centre.The Crunch Tampa Bay Lightning

Geographic location: Ontario, Calif., Springfield, Mass., Syracuse Norfolk Richmond Stephenville Corner Brook Anaheim

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