IceCaps off the schneid... whatever that is

Brendan McCarthy
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St. John’s blank Providence Bruins 6-0 to close out homestand

St. John’s IceCaps captain Jason Jaffray (centre) and Maxime Macenauer (26) try to get a stick on a bouncing puck in front of Providence Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg as Bruins defencemen Ryan Button (left) closes in on the play. The IceCaps won 6-0. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

You can’t actually point to “the schneid.”    

It is not a solid entity, but a state of being, and the use of the word as part of the sports vernacular seems to have come as the result of a convoluted path. It may now refer to an extended slump or misfortune, but gin rummy and cuts of cloth seem somehow involved in its origins.

But whatever the schneid is, a bunch of St. John’s IceCaps — and actually the team as a whole — got off it Sunday at Mile One Centre.

Think of players clad in blue, silver and white jumping off an uncomfortable couch en masse, and you get the picture.

The IceCaps (9-9-1) blanked the Providence Bruins 6-0 in their most dominating home performance of the 2012-13 American Hockey League season, maybe of their brief American Hockey League existence. And while St. John’s coach Keith McCambridge delivered the always-wise “it’s just one game” advisory, even he had to admit it was one very good game for his side.

“There were a lot of positives to that game,” said McCambridge, “Obviously, the score... but we did a lot of good things, playing solid in our own zone, playing physical and blocking shots, going to hard areas in front of the net.

“There were some real top-end things that took place.”

Here are some of those things, as expressed statistically, some with comment:

‰ The victory, coupled with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Bruins on Saturday, gives St. John’s three points from the back-to-back games against Providence (7-8-1), the most they’ve taken from any such two-game home series this season. It’s also the first time the IceCaps have won the second game of a two-game set in 2012-13. In the previous five instances, they won the opener, only to lose the rematch.

“If you look at it, we got the second-best (outcome for St. John’s in the series), with three points out of a (possible) four,” said IceCaps’ goalie Eddie Pasquale, who was Sunday’s first star with a 40-save shutout performance.

‰ Spencer Machacek, the IceCaps’ leading scorer last season, picked up three assists, ending a 13-game pointless streak. What’s more, Machacek  — who entered the game with a minus-12 rating — was on the ice for all six of the St. John’s goals, finishing with a plus-three rating.

“This is the longest in my career ... drought, slump type of thing, whatever you call it,” said Machacek, whose attempt to change his fortunes even involved cutting what had become a rather lengthy mane of hair.

“I got really frustrated and it got to the point where the frustration started even to affect how hard I worked .. .. you start doing the wrong things because you’re frustrated. But this week, I was telling myself, ‘keep working hard and it will come,’ and it kind of did tonight.

“It was a big breakout game for everyone and hopefully it gets the ball rolling.”

‰ Machacek’s initial helper Sunday came on a second-period goal by Derek Whitmore, the latter’s first as an IceCap and one which came after Whitmore sat out four games as a healthy scratch, in part to satisfy the AHL’s veteran quota. Sunday’s game was only the seventh for Whitmore this season.

“It was great in a couple of ways,” said Whitmore of his goal. “Obviously, to get the first one, but I don’t know. I don’t know who I was happier for, myself or for Mach.That guy’s been battling so hard.

“I think both of us looked at each other in the (post-goal celebration) pile and it was like ‘We can play this game.’”

‰ Defenceman Paul Postma, last year’s team MVP, scored his first goal in more than three weeks and only his second of the season.

‰ Postma’s tally was one of three power-play goals for St. John’s, marking the first time this season the IceCaps have had that many man-advantage markers in a game. In fact, they had only four power-play goals in total in their previous 11 contests (and 62 chances).

‰ The St. John’s penalty kill was a perfect six-for-six ... and included two knockdowns of lengthy Providence five-on-three opportunities. On both those occasions, IceCaps’ leading scorer Alex Burmistrov, in particular, put on a show, proving his abilities in the keep-away game. Sunday’s result puts the IcCaps’ success rate on the PK at over 80 per cent, a place where they haven’t been except for one three-game stretch earlier this month.

‰ And while it could not really be suggested he was on the schneid, Pasquale did undergo somewhat of a redemption Sunday, matching his jersey number with 40 saves for his first shutout of the season.

Pasquale had also gotten the start on Saturday, when he also faced 40 shots in what was a solid showing, but he admittedly was chastising himself for allowing the first goal of that contest — one which came with five seconds left in the middle period on a weak, harmless-looking shot by the Bruins’ Alden Hirschfeld, one which somehow snuck through the netminder’s pads.

“I didn’t like that goal. I didn’t like it at all,” said Pasquale, “but you have to battle through it.”

Derek Meech scored and added two assists to join Machacek as IceCaps with three points on Sunday. John Albert, on a lovely individual effort; Max Macenauer, as part of his plus-three game, and Carl Klingberg also scored for St. John’s, which was ending a six-game home stand.

Providence goalie Niklas Svedberg faced 37 shots from an IceCaps team which has taken some time in solving the rookie from Sweden. Including the Bruins’ 3-0 win over St. John’s Nov. 3 in Providence and the first two periods of Saturday’s contest, Svedberg hadn’t allowed an IceCaps goal in 150 minutes of play. That steak ended early in Saturday’s third period when Zach Redmond scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season for the home side.

Macenauer joined Redmond at that five-goal level Sunday. His was part of a performance that earned the IceCaps a day off today, even as the team prepares or a three-game road trip that begins Wednesday in Glens Falls, N.Y., against the Adirondack Phantoms.

“When we went in for battles, we went there with authority. When we went to the front of the net, we went with purpose,” said McCambridge. “Everything that you harp on from the start of the season.

“You’ve seen it sporadically in games, but not consistent in 60 minutes, in three periods ... but I thought you saw that tonight.

“And you saw it from top to bottom. All of forwards, all of our defencemen and our goalie were on the top of their game tonight”


Notes: McCambridge only had one lineup decision Sunday as Whitmore filled a veteran slot while Aaron Gagnon sat out. Gagnon was the only healthy scratch as forward Hunter Tremblay and defenceman Travis Ramsey were both injured Saturday, meaning they joined Jason King, Patrice Cormier, Ray Sawada and Eric O’Dell in the St. John’s infirmary. Ramsey, who has a broken hand and is out for a month, or Tremblay, again troubled by consussion-like symptoms, will travel this week. Neither will King, who has been out nearly three weeks, or Cormier, who has been limited to three games because of a knee injury. O’Dell and Sawada are lsited as day-to-day and will make the trip  ... Providence rookie and co-leading scorer Ryan Spooner had a goal Saturday and was the only one of nine shootout participants who was successful ... The Mary Browns hardest working IceCaps in the weekend series: Alex Burmistov (Saturday) and Spencer Machacek (Sunday). The Coors Light three stars Saturday: 1. Redmond 2. Spooner 3. Svedberg, Pro; on Sunday, it was an IceCaps sweep, with Pasquale, second-star Meech and third-star Whitmore taking post-game twirls and bows ...


Organizations: IceCaps, American Hockey League, Bruins Winnipeg Jets Maple Leafs

Geographic location: Providence, Sweden, Glens Falls, N.Y. Toronto

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