IceCaps Updates: Bienvenue, des Canadiens de Montréal

A Stanley Cup Final, a Calder Cup Final, affiliation changes; travelling in Central and Eastern Europe I was not able to see much hockey (besides of course the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Prague – perhaps a story to come later), and therefore I have not been able to provide IceCaps updates.

Here is a quick recap of all your Need-To-Know St. John’s IceCaps & AHL information (as of June 17th, 2015)


  • The Manchester Monarchs won the 2015 Calder Cup after defeating the Utica Comets in five games
Local Senior Hockey Player suits up for AHL Team

Local Senior Hockey Player suits up for AHL Team

ST. JOHN’S, NL – It was not a regular weekend of hockey for local senior hockey goaltender Doug Pippy.

The 22 year-old St. John’s native was prepping for a Saturday night game with the Southern Shore Puglisevich Breakers of the Avalon East Senior Hockey League (AESHL) when his phone rang.

On the phone was the Director of Hockey Operations for the St. John’s IceCaps, Brad Andrews.

I got a call a few hours before my own senior game saying they [Lehigh Valley Phantoms] might need someone for the following evening but it wasn’t 100 percent [known] yet. Later that evening I got a call back saying that they were going to use me.

The Phantoms had run into a goaltending situation and were in need of a goaltender to dress versus the IceCaps Sunday afternoon. Starting goaltender Rob Zepp was recalled to the Philadelphia Flyers after Saturday night’s win versus St. John’s which had left back-up rookie net minder Anthony Stolarz as the sole goaltender. The Phantoms needed a back-up.

Pippy, a Police Studies and Psychology student at Memorial University, is no stranger to the IceCaps and was a quick call away.

Over the past couple of summers he had skated with local pro players such as Ryane Clowe (New Jersey Devils) and Zach O’Brien (Manchester Monarchs). It was at these skating opportunities that he met IceCaps captain Jason Jaffray. Jaffray, who has has been playing professional hockey since the 2002 – 2003 season, comes back to Newfoundland earlier than most of the IceCaps after the off-season and was looking for a skate this past summer.

After getting to know Jason I mentioned to him if the IceCaps were ever in need of someone for practice I would certainly come up. Sure enough he got me up a few times to skate with them, which was awesome for him to do.

When Pippy received the call about the opportunity to suit up for an AHL game, he was ecstatic.

[I was] thrilled! I couldn’t believe I had this opportunity! I was kind of in disbelief it was happening until I showed up at the rink.

It was one of the coolest things I have ever done. As we all know Newfoundland has some amazing hockey fans and Mile One gets pretty loud during the IceCaps games so being on the other side of it this time was pretty surreal.

Warm up was really fun. For this to happen in St. John’s made it even more special as I could have a few friends and family in the stands. I just really tried to soak it all in. It will be something I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Although he was not dressed for his local professional hockey team, like every kid’s dream, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms made Pippy’s short experience with their organization very professional and welcoming.

Both the coaching staff and players were very friendly and professional. They made me feel welcome immediately. Everyone introduced themselves to me and told me how much they appreciated me coming out. Which was weird, because I felt like they were doing me a favour and giving me a special experience. I even got to participate in their player meetings.

The room with the players was like any other team I’ve been on. Just a bunch of close-knit guys who love the game and love being with the boys. They had a pretty loose atmosphere in the room, which seemed to pay off for them this weekend with two wins.

After the game Pippy was once again surprised by the Phantoms players.

The players actually invited me out for a meal after the game, which was awesome. You would think a lot of guys wouldn’t really care that I was there because I was only filling in but they welcomed me into their room.

They were a great bunch of people and I really appreciated what they did for me.

No Stranger to Local Hockey

Pippy led the Avalon Capitals of the St. John’s Junior Hockey League (SJJHL) to first place in the SJJHL 2013-2014 season and capped the season off by winning the league championship. He was named the Jungle Jim’s Player of the Game for the Championship in which the Capitals won 3-2 with nine seconds remaining in overtime.

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Stats via the St. John’s Junior Hockey League website

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Stats via the St. John’s Junior Hockey League website

Emergency Situations

There have been several instances where emergency back-up goaltenders have been called to fill in for a hockey club. Here are a few of the most interesting:

  • Paul Deutsch, a 51 year-old recreational hockey player, was an emergency back-up for the Minnesota Wild on November 23rd, 2013.
  • In 2008, Brett Leonhardt, the producer of the Washington Capitals website, suited up for the ‘Caps after goalie Jose Theodore was hurt during the morning skate.
  • In March of 2010 a University of Calgary drama student by the name of Nathan Deobald was named the second-string goaltender for the Edmonton Oilers for a match versus the Vancouver Canucks after Oilers G Devan Dubynk was diagnosed with infectious gastrointestinal disorder. Debold had little more professional experience than Deutsch and Leonhardt; he was a goaltender with the U of C Dinos in the CIS.


Follow me on Twitter @CharlesMDart

IceCaps Updates – October 27th

IceCaps news and updates compiled from Twitter, The Telegram, The AHL, and myself:

  • Patrice Cormier was recalled to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, October 25th
  • Rookie Scott Kosmachuk was injured in Saturday’s game vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers
  • Eric O’Dell, Kyle MacKinnon and Nic Blanchard are all day-to-day. O’Dell has not played since last Wednesday, October 22nd, MacKinnnon last played Tuesday night vs. Binghamton, and Blanchard has not played since the second game of the season, on October 11th.
  • Team captain Jason Jaffray and Julien Brouillette are week-to-week
  • Via Brendan McCarthy of The Telegram: “To help bolster the depleted roster, the IceCaps are adding forward Brodie Reid from Elmira of the ECHL.” Reid, an undrafted 25 year-old, has played the past three seasons with the Worcester Sharks registering 71 points in 155 games.

Weekend Recap:

  1. Saturday: IceCaps 2-1 SOW vs Bridgeport
  2. Sunday: IceCaps 5-3 L vs Bridgeport

Rookie F Chase Balisy has seven points in his last four games and leads the team in scoring…Rookie F Ryan Olsen scored his first professional goal in Sunday’s 5-3 loss to Bridgeport…Rookie G Connor Hellebuyck made 37 saves in Saturday’s win and made 15 saves on 16 shots in relief of Peter Budaj in Sunday’s loss.

IceCaps Lines – October 21st

136th consecutive sellout at Mile One Centre tonight as the IceCaps face-off against the Binghamton Senators. G Connor Hellebuyck makes his home debut whilst F Ben Walker makes his pro-debut.

Forward Lines

Kosmachuk – O’Dell – Lipon

Balisy – Albert – Klingberg

Riley – MacKinnon – Cormier

Walker (First Pro Game) – Olsen – Brassard

Defensive Pairings

Chariot – Kichton

O’Neill – Fredheim

Melchiori – Ellerby


Connor Hellebuyck (start) – Peter Budaj (backup)


(D) Jordan Hill, (F) Patrick Holland, (F) Brandon MacLean, (G) Jussi Olkinuora


(F) Nicholas Blanchard, (D) Julien Brouillette, (F) Jason Jaffray

IceCaps Season Opening Lines

The St. John’s IceCaps fell 2-1 in OT in their season opener in Rhode Island as they played the Providence Bruins.

For a full recap of the game, check out The Telegram.

Game Notes

  • New G Peter Budaj was injured just eight minutes into the game. There was blood on the ice but there is no word to the official injury; first speculation pointed to an skate cut on the right arm, however later reports suggested he was cut on the face. He returned to the bench in the second period.
  • IceCaps captain Jason Jaffray was also injured in the first period after a collision with a Bruins player. He did not return.
  • Connor Hellebuyck was solid in his first professional game after taking over for the injured Budaj. Hellebuyck made 27 saves on 29 shots.
  • IceCaps goal: Will O’Neill (1) unassisted

Forward Lines

Klingberg – O’Dell – Lipon

*Jaffray – Albert – Kosmachuk

Blanchard – MacKinnon – Riley

Holland – Olsen – Brassard


Defencemen: Kris Fredheim, Jordan Hill

Forwards: Chase Balisy, Brandon MacLean, and Ben Walker

Goaltender: Jussi Olkinuora

*Lines will change with Jaffray’s injury. If Jaffray is unable to play look for Chase Balisy to possibly make his IceCaps debut.

IceCaps Season Opening Roster and Notes

Update, October 9th 2014, 3:54 p.m. NST

The IceCaps have announced the signing of three forwards:

  • Ben Walker and Brandon MacLean have been signed to PTO’s. They were previously on PTO’s as well.
  • Nicholas Blanchard has been signed to a PTO.

The IceCaps now have 26 players on their roster. The lineups and roster are updated and are below.

Opening Night Roster including lines (via Chris Ballard @cgballardsports):

Goaltenders (3)

Peter Budaj, Connor Hellebuyck, Jussi Olkinuora

Defence (8)

Ben Chiarot – Brenden Kichton

Julien Melchiori – Keaton Ellerby

Will O’Neill – Julien Brouillette

Jordan Hill – Kris Fredheim “A”

Forwards (15)

Carl Klingberg – John Albert “A” – JC Lipon

Jason Jaffray “C” – Kyle MacKinnon – Scott Kosmachuk

Patrick Holland – Ryan Olsen – Blair Riley

Ben Walker (PTO) / Brandon MacLean (PTO)- Chase Balisy – Austen Brassard

*Eric O’Dell, Nicholas Blanchard (PTO) – both were not in St. John’s for the IceCaps last practice. New lines to come, stay tuned.      IceCaps lines updated.

Update, October 9th 2014, 3 p.m. NST

  • F Eric O’Dell, G Peter Budaj, D Ben Chiarot, and D Keaton Ellerby have all cleared waivers and have joined the IceCaps.
  • CAPTAINCY: Jason Jaffray was named team captain whilst John Albert and Kris Fredheim were named assistant captains.
  • Defenceman Ralfs Freibergs was assigned to the Ontario Reign of the new-look ECHL.
  • Forwards Robert Czarnik and Zach Bell, as well as defenceman Mike Cornell, were all released from their PTO’s.

Here is the lineup from the IceCaps final pre-season game vs. Hamilton yesterday, heading into the regular season:


Connor Hellebuyck, Jussi Olkinuora


Julien Melchiori – Kris Fredheim

Brenden Kichton – Jordan Hill

Will O’Neill – Julien Brouillette


JC Lipon – John Albert – Carl Klingberg

Chase Balisy -Jason Jaffray -Scott Kosmachuk

Ben Walker (PTO) – Ryan Olsen – Patrick Holland

Blair Riley – Kyle MacKinnon – Austen Brassard

Scratched…Forwards Zach Bell (PTO), Robert Czarnik (PTO), and Brandon MacLean (PTO)…Defencemen Mike Cornell (PTO) and Ralfs Freibergs.


  • St. John’s native (D) Chris Owens was released from his PTO
  • (F) Jean Dupuy was also released from his PTO
  • Peter Budaj is pending waivers  and may be assigned to the IceCaps
  • Defencemen Ben Chiarot and Keaton Ellerby were assigned to St. John’s today

St. John’s IceCaps Season Review

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.

Team Leaders

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.


Playoff Powerhouse

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

Behemoth Nemeth

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.