Up until a week ago, goalie Eddie Pasquale and defenceman Jason DeSantis had each appeared in only one game for the St. John's IceCaps. Meanwhile, St. John's forward Shawn Weller had dressed for all but one of the IceCaps' contests, but mainly in a checking/energy role, collecting just one goal in the process.
Things, as they say, can change.
Saturday night in central Massachussetts, Weller scored twice and earned his second straight first-star honours, Pasquale stopped 30 of 31 shots for his third win in five days and DeSantis picked up assists on both of Weller's markers as St. John's downed the Worcester Sharks 3-1.
The victory keeps the IceCaps (7-2-3) in first place in the American Hockey League's Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, and moves them into a tie for first overall in the league with the Houston Aeros.
Patrice Cormier added an empty-netter for St. John's, which defeated Worcester 6-3 Tuesday.
That game saw the start of Pasquale's win streak, one which continued with another 6-3 victory Friday night, when the Caps defeated the Connecticut Whale in Hartford. The second-year pro now has a perfect 4-0 record this season, with a 2.00 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.
His best stop Saturday came with about two-and-half minutes remaining in the game. As St. John's clung to a 2-1 lead and just before the expiration of the first of two penalties which had contributed to an 81-second five-on-three power play for the Sharks, Pasquale stretched across the crease to make a save on Worcester's Tommy Wingels, who had looked to have the goalie dead to rights.
Weller's goals both came on the power play, officially giving him four on the year, although he told IceCaps' broadcaster Brian Rogers he didn't deserve credit for a tally given to him Friday night in Hartford, that it should have gone instead to DeSantis.
Not that DeSantis has a hard time collecting points. He now has seven assists in just five games, maintaining a plus-six rating in the process.
Brodie Reid had the only goal for the Sharks (4-2-2), who hadn't suffered a regulation loss until the IceCaps showed up this week.
St. John's finishes off a busy weekend and six games-in-10 days New England road trip this afternoon in Bridgeport, Conn., when they take on the Sound Tigers, the farm team of the New York Islanders. The IceCaps have picked up points in all five games on their swing so far, with two overtime losses followed by the three straight wins.
Defenceman Jake Marto, summoned from Colorado of the ECHL to reinforce a St. John's blueline corps hit hard by three recent call-ups to the Winnipeg Jets, joined his new team Saturday but did not dress. In fact there were no changes to the lineup the IceCapsused Friday against the Whale ... The second and third stars Saturday were Worcester's Reid and Pasquale of St. John's. DeSantiswas the choice as the IceCaps' hardest-working player ... Mark Flood, one of the three rearguards called up to the Jets this week, was named the third star after scoring his first NHL goal and adding an assist in Winnipeg's 3-2 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils Saturday ... Two rookies lead the IceCaps in the plus-minus rankings. Defenceman Zach Redmond in plus-nine, while forward John Albert is plus-eight... Game time today in Bridgeport is 4:30 p.m., NT, with Rogers' pre-game show beginning on This Is Newfoundland Labrador 930 AM, on radio and online, approximately a half-hour earlier..