The first weekend of AHL action is now in the books and the St. John's IceCaps managed a split in the win/loss columns. After dropping their season opener 4-2 to the Springfield Falcons on Saturday night, the team rebounded with a hard fought 3-2 win over the Connecticut Whale in Hartford a day later.
Here are a few notes I jotted down after both games, though most of my focus will be on Saturday night's affair in Springfield:
- Carl Klingberg looks to have improved his skating since last season. I don't know if I'd have called him a "sloppy skater" before, but he does look craftier on his skates and definitely showcases a more powerful stride. He's said he wants to drive to the net more this season, and it looks like he's taking the right steps in achieving that.
- Edward Pasquale was great in game one, as was Mark Dekanich in game two. The IceCaps were said to be good between the pipes, and they'll have to be to produce wins in this talent laden league. Pasquale did allow four goals against in the first game, but he looked to be in good form. His numbers should be alright as we get in to bigger sample size.
- I wasn't too impressed with the blue-line, but that is based mostly off what I viewed in game one, so maybe someone can correct me on that. We'll get a better chance to assess the back-end next week when Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and the Adirondack Phantoms are in town to put some heat on them, followed by what looks to be a stacked Portland Pirates group of defenders. Also, we'll see if Paul Postma's insertion into the lineup will settle things down.
- Alexander Burmistrov is the real deal. He is easily the most skilled player on the team, as was expected. He picked up two assists on the powerplay in the win against the Whale.
- I'd heard that Maxim Macenauer looked pretty good in preseason, and while I didn't follow him too much, he did get on the board with his first goal of the season on Sunday. I do recall him making a brutal clearing play in the first game that resulted in a Springfield power play marker, though. Either way, he's someone to keep an eye on.
- Spencer Machacek is off to a good start with three points (1G, 2A) already.
- The IceCaps' powerplay was 3 for 12 on the weekend, which is pretty efficient. However, their penalty kill was underwhelming, going only 7 for 11 (64%). Again, sample size.
- Ivan Telegin looked alright -- not great -- but is obviously in an adjustment phase, much like Mark Scheifele was last season when joining the 'Caps following his OHL season. Telegin did manage to grab his first assist on Sunday against Connecticut.
- The IceCaps were outshot 70-50 over the weekend; 33-25 and 37-25 in respective games. Hopefully this won't be a continuing trend.
As previously mentioned, the IceCaps' next game goes next Friday against Adirondack, in what will be the team's home opener at the Mile One Centre. Next weekend marks the beginning of a six game home stand for St. John's that will see them play pairs of games against Portland and Norfolk as well.
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