By Robin Short
Telegram Sports Editor-Albany, N.Y.
St. John’s IceCaps coach Keith McCambridge says special teams play a big role in the playoffs – no surprise there – especially so in a short best-of-five series.
That said, McCambridge isn’t overly worried about his team’s power play entering Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final 8:30 Saturday night (NL time) at the Times Union Centre in Albany, N.Y.
The IceCaps took the first game in the best-of-five Calder Cup playoff series 2-1 over the Albany Devils Friday night, on defenceman Ben Chiarot’s goal with 24 seconds left in regulation time.
St. John’s had four power play opportunities Friday, but failed to cash in.
On a positive note, the IceCaps did finish off strong regarding the power play, scoring once in each of their three final regular season games.
Prior to that, however, St. John’s languished through a nasty zero-for-27 stretch.
“No, it’s not a concern,” McCambridge said following the team’s Saturday morning skate. “It’s a new opponent, so it’s a little different. Looking at video is one thing, but until you’re on the ice as a power play unit, and you’re feeling where that pressure is coming from, it’s a little different scenario.
“I thought we had some good quality chances Friday, and watching the tape last night, I thought we were able to generate a couple of scoring chances.
“That said, we have to finish on those opportunities also.”
The Devils’ only goal came on the power play, with dangerous little Joe Whitney scoring at 2:13 of the second period to tie the game.
It was a big win for the IceCaps Friday, given the fact the first round is a short series.
And while the players celebrated right after the game, McCambridge was quick to point out Saturday was a new day.
“We use the phrase short-term memory,” he said. “And it goes both ways. If you have success, enjoy it for 10 minutes but then get yourself refocused, especially with back-to-back games here.
“And the same holds true when you don’t have success. You correct some of the areas you feel you weren’t strong in, but you get your focus and attention back to the next game.
“Playoffs happen very quickly, especially in a best-of-five series.”
There will be no lineup changes tonight, meaning McCambridge will go with 12 forwards and six defenceman. Michael Hutchinson will be in goal.
Hutchinson took a slash from Albany captain Rod Pelley in the second period Friday, and initially appeared to be injured. But he finished the game, and was on the ice Saturday morning, reporting afterwards that everything is fine.
Adam Lowry, said to be out with the flu, did not skate with the team Saturday morning, but did hit the ice for a skate after practice. Defenceman Julian Melchiori is still in a non-contact jersey.
So the lines Saturday night will remain the same:
Jason Jaffray-John Albert-Andrew Gordon
Eric O’Dell-Kael Mouillierat-Carl Klingberg
Kyle MacKinnon-Patrice Cormier-Blair Riley
Josh Lunden-J.C. Lipon-Jerome Samson
Zach Redmond and Ben Chiarot
Kris Fredheim and Josh Morrissey
Jordan Hill and Brenden Kichton
Michael Hutchinson and Tyler Beskorowany (backup)