A season to remember
It began as an all too regular regular season for the St. John’s IceCaps.
Up until January 2014, the IceCaps had a 16-13-3 record, including a mediocre 4-5-1 October record. It certainly didn’t give any indication that this team would play in the Calder Cup just a few short months later.
New Year, New Team
I’m not sure what they had to drink on New Year’s. But it worked.
Compiling a 30-10-4 record from January to April in the regular season (9-3 January, 8-3-1 February, 8-3-1 March, 5-1-2 April), the IceCaps secured fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a total of 99 points and a record of 46-23-2-5. They were headed back to the Calder Cup playoffs for the second time in their three year history.
Goals: John Albert (28), Jerome Samson (27), Andrew Gordon (23)
Assists: Jason Jaffray (*41), Brenden Kichton (38), Andrew Gordon (34)
Points: Jason Jaffray (59), Andrew Gordon (57), Jerome Samson (56)
Wins: Michael Hutchinson and Michael Hutchinson (17/each)
GAA: Tyler Beskorowany (2.20)
Save %: Tyler Beskorowany (.932%)
IceCaps rookie defenceman Josh Morrissey played well in his short time. He played just eight games during the final stretch of the season after reporting to the club from his junior team, and in 20 Calder Cup games he had 9 points….Eddie Pasquale was the starting goaltender up until February after having hip-surgery….Pasquale was traded on June 28th to the Washing Capitals….Michael Hutchinson poised to make the NHL. Was the starting goaltender for the IceCaps during the Calder Cup playoffs and after returning from the Jets call-up in April.
FULL TEAM STATS
The IceCaps received the unknown team card in this year’s playoffs. St. John’s did not play three-of-four post season opponents during the 2013-2014 regular season. They defeated the Albany Devils in four games in the first round and moved on to defeat the Norfolk Admirals in six games. Round three saw the ‘Caps prevail against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in six games, however not without a fight. It was a penalty-filled series that included the Penguins first-ever post-season fight, and even a suspension of IceCaps defenceman Will O’Neill.
Goaltender Michael Hutchinson was the talk of the playoffs, posting an AHL-best 1.95 GAA, .938 save % and three shutouts. The IceCaps had played their second conference final in three years.
They had become the Eastern Conference Champions for the first time.
Just one series left to play. Just one series.
Almost, but not quite
For the first time since 1992, an AHL team from St. John’s, Newfoundland was back in the Calder Cup Finals, and they would be against the Texas Stars, the first place team in the entire AHL.
And much like the ’92 St. John’s Maple Leafs, it didn’t end the way they wanted.
“This one’s going to sting. This one’s going to hurt for a long time.”
–IceCaps Head Coach Keith McCambridge
Lead by AHL MVP (regular season and playoffs) Travis Morin, and rookie Brendan Ranford, the Texas Stars defeated the St. John’s IceCaps in five games. With just 5:30 remaining in the first overtime period of Game 5, Stars defenceman Patrik Nemeth deked past Jordan Hill and finished off the series with a nifty top-shelf backhander over Michael Hutchinson’s glove. His first goal of the playoffs, his 5th career AHL goal.
And that was it. The AHL season was over.
Records set this season
Most points, one season: Jason Jaffray, 59
Most assists, one season: Jason Jaffray, 41
Highest Plus/Minus: Ben Chiarot, +29
Most PIM, one season: JC Lipon, 136
Most team wins, one season: 46
Most points: 99
Most Goals-For: 258
The Jets have a number of other players signed to entry-level contracts but who will not be age-eligible to play in the AHL next season. This list includes defenceman Josh Morrissey, goaltender Eric Comrie, undrafted forward Axel Blomqvist, and high-scoring WHL forward Nic Petan.
Scott Kosmachuk, Connor Hellebuyck, and Ryan Olsen will play with the IceCaps next season and make their pro-debuts.