IceCap's season finishes with shootout loss to Marlies
The St. John’s IceCaps ended their 2012-13 American Hockey League season just as they had started the campaign back in early October — with a loss.
The IceCaps dropped a 4-3 decision to the Toronto Marlies via the shootout Sunday afternoon at the Ricoh Centre in Toronto in their final regular season game of the season.
The IceCaps knew Sunday afternoon’s matinee was their final hockey game this season as St. John’s was officially eliminated from playoff contention last week.
“There’s some really good character from the older leadership group in that room that helps drive that on the ice,” said IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge.
“It’s not where we want to be on the outside of the playoff picture but definitely I’ve been impressed with the effort down the stretch.”
The IceCaps beat the Marlies 4-3 Saturday in the shootout. Friday night at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum, the Bulldogs dropped the IceCaps 4-1.
St. John’s finishes 32-36-3-5 on the year, 14th in the 15-team Eastern Conference, three points up on the Adirondack Phantoms.
The Providence Bruins were the class of the East and the entire AHL this season, going 50-21-0-5 for a league-high 105 points.
If it’s any consolation to St. John’s hockey fans, Providence finished in 12th place in the East and out of the playoffs last season with a 35-34-3-4 record.
Such is the cyclical nature of minor pro hockey. In 2010-11, the Binghamton Senators won the Calder Cup. Last season, the Sens finished dead last in the AHL. This year, Binghamton finished fourth in the East, back in the playoff picture.
Still, it was a difficult season for IceCaps fans, who watched their team go all the way to the Conference final last season.
Here’s a look at the year from a numbers point of view:
• 400 – Actually, the number of man games lost to injury this season is over 400 games. Jason King played only nine games, John Albert 24 and Patrice Cormier 35, for example.
• 55 – The number of points Eric O’Dell finished with this season (29 goals, 26 assists). The goals and points are new IceCaps’ benchmarks.
• 72 – The number of points St. John’s finished with this season, compared to the 94 delivered last year when the IceCaps were 43-25-5-3.
• 13 – The number of home ice wins by St. John’s and the Worcester Sharks, fewest of any team in the American Hockey League this season.
• 19 – The number of losses on home ice, most of any AHL team. Fewest wins, and most losses. And to think St. John’s is still riding a consecutive home ice sellout streak? Maybe there might be something to this substandard ice thing at Mile One.
• 24 – The number of restricted and unrestricted free agents on the IceCaps. As pointed out by Brendan McCarthy in Saturday’s Telegram, there is the potential for big change on the IceCaps’ landscape this summer. Now, while listed as ‘free agents,’ it’s almost a certainty an RFA like O’Dell will be given a qualifying offer. Unrestricted free agent goalie Mark Dekanich probably won’t be back, and the ball is likely in UFA Jason Jaffray’s court if he wants to return. Other free agents (restricted) of note are Eddie Pasquale and Patrice Cormier..
Josh Lunden had two goals and an assist Sunday, and Ben Maxwell netted a goal and two helpers.
However, neither Lunden, Maxwell, O’Dell, Adam Lowry and Zach Redmond, who played two of three games over the weekend on a conditioning assignment, managed to beat Garret Sparks in the shootout.
Ryan Lasch scored twice for the Marlies, and Tyler Biggs scored his first professional goal.
Dekanich made 25 saves in the IceCaps’ net.
Saturday, O’Dell scored 29th goal and netted the eventual shootout winner. Also scoring for St. John’s were Maxwell, and Carl Klingberg.
Lasch, Spencer Abbott and Greg Scott replied.
Lunden and Maxwell also scored in the shootout, and Dekanich made 19 saves.
Friday night, Jussi Olkinuora, just out of Denver University, stopped 22 saves in his AHL debut, but it wasn’t enough as Robert Mayer stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Hamilton goal.
Phillippe Lefebvre netted two goals for the winners. Louis Leblanc and Greg Pateryn added singles. Lunden had the only St. John’s goal.