Playoff race in AHL's Eastern Conference extremely tight
How tight is the playoff situation in the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference?
Well, the St. John’s IceCaps could have been tied for fourth overall today had they defeated the Providence Bruins Friday. Instead, they could find themselves out of a playoff position as soon as tonight.
Friday night in Providence, in their first game of a six-game road trip, the IceCaps gave up three first-period goals and never caught up, falling 3-2 to the P-Bruins.
The result leaves St. John’s (28-19-3) with 59 points and eighth overall in the Eastern Conference. The top eight teams in the conference will advance to the post-season.
The Albany Devils are a point behind the IcCaps, with a game in hand. The Devils can move past St. John’s today as they play the Adirondack Phantoms tonight, while the IceCaps have the day off.
The good news for the IceCaps, who next play Sunday afternoon in Manchester, N.H., is that they are just a point behind the Norfolk Admirals and Hershey Bears and just two in arrears of Providence (27-18-7) and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.
In Friday’s game at the Dunkin Donuts Center, the Bruins got goals from Mike Moore, Craig Cunningham and Justin Florek in the opening frame and held on for the victory.
Carl Klingberg and John Albert replied for St. John’s, with Albert’s second-period goal coming while the IceCaps were shorthanded.
The IceCaps outshout Providence 28-25, including 12-6 in the third period, but couldn’t find a way to get a game-tying goal against Bruins’ netminder Niklas Svedberg.
Michael Hutchinson was in goal for St. John’s.
The IceCaps’ Sunday game in Manchester begins 4:30 p.m. Newfoundland time. It’s the 10th and final regular-season meeting between the two teams. The Monarchs (32-14-7) lead the Eastern Conference, but the IceCaps have won six of their nine meetings to date.
Scratches for the IceCaps Friday included defencemen Cody Lampl and Kris Fredheim, forwards Austen Brassard, Josh Lunden and Ryan Schnell, and goalie Eddie Pasquale. All are injured, except for Lampl and Brassard. However Lunden, who hasn’t played since October because of a concussion, is travelling with the team … Providence had one power-play goal in five chances, while St. John’s went 0-for-3, leaving the IceCaps without a man-advantage goal in three straight games… The Molson Canadian three stars Friday: 1. Justin Florek. Providence 2. Seth Griffith, Providence 3. Will O’Neill, St. John’s… The Mary Brown’s hardest-working IceCap: Michael Hutchinson ...