Everybody wants a guy like Albert

Brendan McCarthy
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The St. John’s IceCaps’ John Albert wheels away from the net after scoring on a penalty shot in a game against the Worcester Sharks earlier this month at Mile One Centre. Albert was named the CCM/American Hockey League player of the week on Monday after piling up six points (five goals, one assist) in the last four games. Three of Albert’s goals came while the IceCaps were shorthanded, giving him a league-leading six on the season.

IceCaps’ shorthanded goal-scoring phenom earns player of the week honours

Penalty killing doesn’t usually offer an opportunity to add to one’s offensive statistics, but don’t tell that to St. John’s IceCaps’ forward John Albert.
Albert has been named the latest CCM/American Hockey League player of the week after registering six points (five goals and an assist) and going plus-five in St. John’s last four games, all IceCaps’ road wins.

Three of Albert’s five goals in that stretch came while St. John’s was shorthanded.

In two of those games — wins over the Portland Pirates on Sunday and last Tuesday — Albert was named the game’s first star.

The 25-year-old native of Cleveland, Ohio had five shorthanded markers in his last eight games and six on the season, which is twice as many as any other AHL player.

In 49 AHL games this season, Albert has 15 goals and 30 points, both career highs as a pro. He also made his big-league debut this season, appearing in eight gams with the Winnipeg Jets, registering one goal.

A 2007 sixth-round draft choice out of Ohio State University, Albert has appeared in 137 career AHL contests, all with St. John’s, and has 27 goals and 35 assists for 62 points.

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Every week, we offer a detailed statistical look at the IceCaps (see toned box on this page), and here is a look at some of the stories behind the numbers:

The IceCaps (31-19-4) have 23 games remaining in their regular-season schedule, but need only one more win to equal their total for 2012-13, when they went 32-36-8 and finished third last overall in the AHL.

By comparison, St. John’s had 43 wins in 2011-12. If they keep up their present pace, the IceCaps would likely equal that wins total this season.

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Blair Riley’s 116 penalty minutes are the most ever by an IceCaps player in a single season, eclipsing the 112 PIMs picked up by Garth Murray in 2011-12.

Fellow forward Ryan Schnell, who is injured and hasn’t played in a month, has 101 penalty minutes, making it the first time St. John’s has ever had two players on the same team in triple numbers when it comes to penance time. With rookie JC Lipon at 93 PIMs, it’s very likely there will soon be three players in that category.

By the way, centre Patrice Cormier is the club’s all-time leader in penalty minutes, with 229 in 142 games.

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St. John’s defenceman Brenden Kichton is often described as a standout rookie, but here’s how much he stands out: So far this season Kichton has 42 points (10 goals, 32 assist), which is 18 points more than any other first-year rearguard in the AHL; Ryan Sproul of the Grand Rapids Griffins has 24 points on eight goals and 16 assists.

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With a plus-19 rating, Ben Chiarot leads all St. John’s players in the plus/minus category, and by a fairly wide margin; fellow blueliner Julian Melchiori is next at plus-11.

If Chiarot maintains or improves on his plus-minus, he will set an IceCaps single season record; Arturs Kulda finished at plus-18 in 2011-12.

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The IceCaps are plus-30 when it comes to goals for and against, which is the sixth-best differential in the AHL, behind only the Texas Stars and Binghamton Senators (both plus-41), Springfield Falcons (plus-38), Grand Rapids (plus-36), Manchester Monarchs (plus-35).

East Division-leading Binghamton, which will take on the IceCaps Saturday and Sunday at Mile One Centre has scored 201 goals, more than any other AHL team.

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With Tyler Beskorowany having started between the pipes for St. John’s in Sunday’s win over Portland, the IceCaps have used four goaltenders this season, Eddie Pasquale, Michael Hutchinson and Jussi Olkinuora being the others.

St. John’s has never used more than four different goalies in a season. Compare that with the Charlotte Checkers, the AHL farm team of the Carolina Hurricanes, who have already used nine netminders through 52 games in 2013-14. Those nine are John Muse (30 GP), Mike Murphy (15), Rick DiPietro (5), Cam Ward (2), Antonio Khodubin (2), Justin Peters (2), Allen York (1), Rob Madore (1) and Jesse Deckert (1).

bmcc@thetelegram.com

Organizations: IceCaps, Winnipeg Jets, Ohio State University Carolina Hurricanes

Geographic location: Cleveland, Ohio, Grand Rapids, Binghamton Portland

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