Published on October 23, 2012
With stud rearguard PaulâPostma on the injured list to start the St.âJohnâs IceCaps 2012-13 season, second-year defenceman Zach Redmond (above) has been able to make the best of his extra ice time as he leads the team in scoring with a pair of power play markers. â Telegram file photo
Published on October 23, 2012
Mark Dekanich made 37 stops in his only start to date this season, a 3-2 win over the Connecticut Whale last week. Dekanich will start tonight against the PortlandâPirates. â Photo courtesy of Chris Rutsch/Connecticut Whale
Sophomore blueliner has filled in nicely in PaulâPostmaâs absence
Zach Redmond no longer is a pleasant surprise.
Oh yes, there is much that is pleasing about his play. Itâs the surprise part thatâs obsolete.
No longer is he the seventh-round pick, 184th overall who turned pro last season out of Ferris State University, going from unheralded draft choice to a âWhat have we got here?â prospect within the Winnipeg Jetsâ organization.
Heâs a top-three defenceman on the St. Johnâs IceCaps, one whoâs featured on the teamâs power-play and now a legitimate candidate to some day play in the NHL.
Through the IceCapsâ first four games this fall and heading to a mid-week series tonight and Wednesday against the visiting Portland Pirates, Redmond has been assigned duties normally assigned to Paul Postma and his howitzer shot. With a hamstring injury keeping Postma from making his 2012-13 debut for St. Johnâs (and itâs not likely to happen in tonightâs game), Redmondâs gun has been the one thatâs often first loaded by his teammates, especially on the power play.
âThatâs where (Postma) played ... last year,â said Redmond of his new role. âSo yeah, itâs nice to get some shots because last year, I was more of a distributor.
âWhen (Postma) gets back, weâll see what happens, but either way, it works out if we score.â
Redmond has two goals this season, both on the power play. He leads the team with 18 shots on goal, his skating and puck-carrying are impressive and he sports a plus-two rating on a team thatâs given up one more goal (12) than itâs scored through four games.
âWeâre seeing a defenceman whoâs really making some solid strides on the development side,â said IceCapsâ head coach Keith McCambridge. âLast year, he was really strong for is. He did have a period where his game fell a bit, but a strong back end (to the season).
âThis year, you can sense his confidence with the puck, reading playings, (knowing) when to join the rush, when to skate pucks out of trouble. I really like the way Zach Redmondâs game is right now.
âWe always talk about (guys coming out of college) getting worn down (by their first pro schedule), but now, weâre seeing a guy who has trained hard all summer and is realizing his opportunity.â
The IceCaps (2-2) are coming off a split of their first two home games, beating the Adirondack Phantoms 2-1 Friday, before falling to the Phantoms 4-3 on Saturday. Redmond says the team needs to break that win one-lose one habit that was so prevalent in 2011-12.
âWe need to figure it out,â he said. âWe did this whole .500 thing last year and we need to learn itâs not a matter of being satisfied (with one win).
âWe have the veterans and the leadership, so itâs not something to get freaked out about, but we do need to learn how to play with as much, if not more, intensity in that second game. We need to .. do it right away.â
St. Johnâs forward Ryan Schnell, who hasnât played a game yet because of concussion-like syndromes, practised Monday, but there really are no changes in the numbers on the IceCapsâ infirmary list.
After Saturdayâs loss, it was reported here that Aaron Gagnon sat out the game to satisfy the AHLâs veteran rules, allowing Derek Whitmore to draw into the lineup. But McCambridge says Gagnon was actually hurt in the third period of Fridayâs 2-1 home-opening win.
He joins Postma, Patrice Cormier, Ray Sawada and Carl Klingberg as key players from last yearâs playoff run who didnât play Saturday and arenât expected to play tonight (7:30 p.m., Rogers Television, CJYQ 930AM/Steele radio-online network)
Jason Jaffray will play Wednesday against the Pirates, which will be his official action since spinal fusion surgery in April. The St. Johnâs captain also practised Monday and looked âreally goodâ according to the coach. Nevertheless, McCambridge said he will not pencil in Jaffray tonight even if he somehow was needed to fill out a lineup.
âWeâll play short before Jason Jaffray goes in before the projected date,â said McCambridge, who later explained he doesnât want to test the veteran forward with back-to-back games on his return from inactivity.
Mark Dekanich will gets start in goal tonight for St. Johnâs, his first at Mile One Centre. Dekanich was outstanding in his lone appearance for the IceCaps to date, making 37 saves in a 3-2 win over the Connecticut Whale on Oct. 14.
Eddie Pasquale started both games against the Phantoms. He was the first star in Fridayâs win and was mostly solid in Saturdayâs loss, save for what turned out to be the winning goal when Brayden Schennâs seemingly innocuous-looking shot somehow sneaked past him in the third period.
âOther than that last goal, which he probably would like to have back, Eddie was outstanding for us,â said McCambridge, suggesting the switch to Dekanich had everything to do with the IceCapsâ busy schedule â theyâre in the midst of a six games-in-nine days home stand.
IceCapsâ centre Eric OâDell is not taking a crash course in Russian.
Against the Phantoms, OâDell looked good playing between Russian wingers Alexander Burmistrov and Ivan Telegin, part of which seemed to result from good communication among the three.
âNot in Russian, we all speak English out there,â said Burmistrov, who turned 21 on Sunday..
âI think we have a pretty good line. All three guys are pretty skilled, but the main thing is to be hard-working guys.â
St. Johnâs native and future AHL Hall of Famer John Slaney is back for a second year as the Piratesâ assistant coach on Ray Edwardsâ staff. And former St. Johnâs Maple Leaf netminder and local fan favourite Mike Minard has returned as Portlandâs goaltending/video coach ... Portlandâs leading scorer through three games is AHL veteran Chris Conner (4G, 2A), followed by defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who has five points. Ekman-Larsson, the sixth overall pick in the 2011 Entry Draft, played a full 82-game schedule with the parent Phoenix Coyotes (13G, 19A in 2011-12), but has been assigned to the Pirates during the NHL lockout ... Portlandâs roster includes a number of notable graduates from the junior ranks: goalie Mark Visentin and defenceman Brandon Gormley, both members of Canadian world junior entries, and centre Brendan Shinnimin, who led the Western Hockey League in scoring last season with 134 points, including 58 goals, for the Tri-City Americans. The difference? Gormley and Visentin were first-round picks of the Pirates, while the 5-foot-10 Shinnimin was undrafted. In fact, he wasnât even drafted into the WHL, making Tri-City on a tryout ... The Pirates wonât play their first game in Portland until Nov. 2, when the host the IceCaps. Thatâs because of renovations to upgrade the 35-year-old Cumberland Country Civic Centre. The Pirates do have two home games on their October schedule, but in Lewiston, Me. The Adroscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston will host a total of six Piratesâ home games this season ... Oklahoma City Baronsâ defenceman Justin Schultz is the latest CCM/AHL player of the week after scoring three goals, adding an assist and registering a plus-6 rating in two games. The University of Wisconsin product was a Hobey Baker finalist last season and the subject of intense interest as a free agent before signing with the Edmonton Oilers ...
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