IceCaps hit new low in shutout loss to Bears

Brendan McCarthy
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St. John’s suffers franchise-worst fifth straight loss, 4-0 to Hershey Wednesday night at Mile One

Things have been bad lately for the St. John’s IceCaps, who have found themselves in a state of hardship not entirely of their own making.

That was until Wednesday night, when they showed themselves at their very worst and got the lump of coal they deserved in a 4-0 loss to the Hershey Bears at Mile One Centre.

It was a franchise-record fifth straight loss for St. John’s (11-14-1), including four consecutive at home. But unlike those previous setbacks, when the IceCaps could at least take some pride at the effort they put forth, there will be no good-try stars attached to the record of this one.

It was one of those plain-and-simple stinkers, where St. John’s continuing struggle — and often, and as was the case Wednesday, its inability — to mount any offence was compounded by a shocking lack of determination. The IceCaps never really looked like they could win in this one, and frankly never looked like a team that thought it could win.

“You can’t come in and play against a team like Hershey or any team and think you’re going to have any kind of success ... if you’re going to just coast through and not play the game the way it was meant to be played,” said St. John’s head coach Keith McCambridge.

“I didn’t like our execution level. I didn’t like our consistency from line to line, from player to player with the compete level.

“I can live with the last couple of games, but I can’t digest this one.”

Zach Hamill scored the only goal Hershey (13-12-1) would need in the last minute of the first period, connecting on a back-door set-up on the power-play. It was a tally duplicated almost exactly by Jon DiSalvatore on another power-play with eight seconds remaining in the second.

Disalvatore’s was the Bears’ fourth goal and even though there was still 20 minutes remaining in the game at that point, it amounted to icing on the cake. St. John’s came out of the second intermission with more obvious resolve, but it was far from enough on this night, especially against the Bears’ Braden Holtby, who looked every bit the NHL goalie — cool and calm and collecting every shot he saw, along with a few he didn’t see.

Matt Beaudoin and Alex Berry also scored for Hershey in the middle frame, which could easily qualify as the most dismal period of the IceCaps’ 26 outings this season. It also added to St. John’s record of second-period futility. The IceCaps have now been outscored 36-17 in second periods this season. Otherwise, they’ve out-tallied the opposition 42-38.

Shots on goal Wednesday were actually 30-25 for St. John’s, which continued a consistent, but not laudable trend in the four-game home stand, where the IceCaps outshot their opponents, but lost every time.

Wednesday’s contest was the last for the IceCaps at Mile One in 2012. They leave Friday for a road trip that starts with a game Saturday in Springfield against the Falcons. In all, St. John’s will play eight times on this swing, which will be broken up by a four-day Christmas break.

This latest game certainly did not make for a positive lasting impression on home fans and Christmas-time road trips are not always favoured by players, but given the way things have been going, a switch-up of any kind might not be unwelcome.

 

“I think sometimes it could be good, just to have a change of pace. Last year, we were great on the road, especially the first half. Hopefully, we can carry that forward here and get a few points heading into the Christmas break,” said centre Aaron Gagnon, who is still without a point through 18 games, although he may have been the best IceCap player on the ice Wednesday night.

Joining the IceCaps on the road will be forwards Ray Kaunisto and Ryan Schnell, who have been recalled from Colorado of the ECHL.

After Shawn Weller broke a finger in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Hershey at Mile One, he became the 10th St. John's player to find himself on the injury roll and meant the Icecaps were left with just 11 healthy forwards among 18 healthy bodies for the rematch. As a result, the IceCaps used seven rearguards Wednesday, including Cody Sol, making his regular-season debut for St. John's.

 

bmcc@thetelegram.com

Twitter@telybrendan

Organizations: IceCaps, Hershey Bears, NHL

Geographic location: St. John's, Springfield, Colorado

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Recent comments

  • Corporate Psycho
    December 14, 2012 - 13:05

    The Caps played a good game. The Hershey goalie was hot. Stopped everything. The Vogue Furriers promotion was pretty trashy all the same.

  • jackie tarr
    December 13, 2012 - 16:22

    This has st. john's maple leafs written all over it. They are going to continue to suck and eventually will leave. It's funny how history repeats itself. Also the fact that you newfies are too stupid to realize this lmao I cant wait til you give muskrat falls away, like you did with churchill. Dumb Newfies

  • darrell
    December 13, 2012 - 11:18

    Only positive out of this is that tickets are now very easy to get. I was offered free tickets by season ticket holders 3 times the past week.

    • Justin
      December 13, 2012 - 12:24

      Keep playing like this and you won't be able to give tickets away.

  • Doug
    December 13, 2012 - 08:44

    I can live with the fact that 9 guys were out of the lineup and the offensive skill was lacking but what I'm disappointed with as a season ticket holder is the lack of try, the give up before the game starts and the lack of pride to try and send a message to Hershey that this our home turf and we will defend it. The physical play was at a minimum, the mental errors were plentiful and most of the 20 skaters for the IceCaps appeared to wish they were anywhere but on the ice. I actually turned to my buddies at the game and asked if we could have nap time because the game was that boring. Fans in St. John's know the game of hockey and will not tolerate a team that doesn't try. We know the team is hurting. What we wanted out of our team last night, especially in the the third period, was a group that was pissed off and who wanted to defend its home ice. We wanted a fesity team who got in the face of the Hershey players, we wanted a team that played the body at every opportunity AND we wanted a team that dopped th gloves a time or two to show that Mile One is OUR turf and while the game on the scoreboard was lost the pride of our team wasn't. Anyone who was at the game knows how our team reacted.

  • Kevin
    December 13, 2012 - 08:26

    Brendan, your going to have to start interviewing someone else, McCambridge articles are becoming too predictable; same excuses every time. Last night was a scary glimpse of a team that seems to have given up on the coach. Apparently Craig Heizinger was in town for these games, I'm glad. Maybe he will see what fans here are going through and shake the team up, I wouldn't be opposed. I find it odd your GM isn't here for most if not all the games. Sorry McCambridge but if this were the NHL you'd be getting the axe right about now.

    • Chavvy
      December 13, 2012 - 19:02

      "Shake this team up". You all know this is the AHL right? The first year is/was different, they will make moves in hopes of making a good first impression but after that, AHL teams do NOT make moves in hopes of drawing more fans or keeping the already established ones happy. It's not rocket science. The AHL is a developmental and holding league for the NHL. Team's won't make trades or roster moves for the sake of the farm team, they only make moves that may impact the NHL team now or in the future. As example, how many times did the baby leafs rumor to or have the chance to bring back Frank Bialowas -- easily one of the most popular St. John's Maple Leafs ever -- yet, never did he return despite reports in this paper (if memory serves) that he had expressed interest. This was the 90's, when the AHL was still a bit of a rough league and even then, the Leafs wouldn't dare use up a single roster spot for a guy they might play every now and again just to keep the homers happy.