The struggles in St. John's have continued. The IceCaps are more than a third of the way through their season and this team still can't buy a goal. Add to that some in injuries and this team has sunk even further in the standings. They aren't out of the hunt, but they need to pick it up.
Remember when I said the poor puck luck was unsustainable? Hahahahahaha. It looks like I was wrong... Well sort of. The IceCaps' shooting numbers have improved over the past few weeks, while the goalies have picked their play as well.
Unfortunately, their record certainly doesn't reflect it.
Since we last looked, the IceCaps have amassed a 4-6-1 record, bringing the season total to 11-14-1. That's pretty stinky, considering the lofty projections many had for this club.
In their defense, couple key injuries surely haven't helped their cause. Captain Jason Jaffray has missed some more time due to the nagging neck injury that derailed his 2011-12 campaign. Eric O`Dell only played one game after our last update, where he once lead the team in scoring before his trip to the injured reserve.
Anyway, let's take a look at the numbers:
Zach Redmond and Derek Meech are tied for the team lead in scoring. Redmond also leads St. John's in goals. While that's great for them, it's not a great sign for the rest of team. Paul Postma is just barely behind them and putting up more points on a per game basis, so look for him to join that duo at the top of the scoring chart in the near future.
Neither Alexander Burmistrov nor Ben Maxwell have scored a goal since our last entry. They have now combined for 112 shots on net and only three flipping goals. This horrendous streak can't continue. My goodness.
Ivan Telegin hasn't had much shooting luck either. Telegin was a big-time sniper for the Barrie Colts last year, but he has only potted 2 goals on 40 shots in his brief AHL career. Hopefully he can score a couple more and bring his shooting % back to a normal level.
Raymond Sawada and Postma returned from injuries and both have played pretty well, as both are among the IceCaps' top-four in points per game. Postma is on par with his past performances, but is appears Sawada is over-achieving statistically. Though I wouldn’t expect him to score on 19% of his shots as the season continues.
If you take the worst of the worst -- Ben Maxwell, Alex Burmistrov, Ivan Telegin, Will O'Neill, Dean Arsene, Derek Whitmore, Aaron Gagnon and Ben Chiarot have all played big minutes that don't match their production value. This group has poured 260 shots on net; almost a third of the IceCaps 788 SOG, but they only have 6 goals to show for it. This equates to a gawd-awful 2.31 shooting percentage. W.T.F.?
Over their most recent stretch, the IceCaps netted 25 goals on 331 shots. That is good for 7.55% shooting, compared to the 7.22% that they opened with. We have signs of marginal improvement -- albeit nothing substantial.
I keep harping on shooting percentages and I have done so without offering much background. Here are the team shooting percentages for the IceCaps' and their Atlantic Division opponents:
St. John's IceCaps - 7.36%
Manchester Monarchs - 9.00%
Portland Pirates - 9.30%
Providence Bruins - 6.74% (Super Yuck Wow!)
Worcester Sharks - 8.52%.
Nothing prolific here and a couple really poor puck luck teams. 8.5-9.5% is closer to the league average. The Syracuse Crunch have been scoring on 11.46% of their shot attempts this year and the Ice Caps scored on 10% of their shots last year.
The IceCaps biggest statistical improvement has come on the back-end. Through his first eight games, Edward Pasquale posted a GAA of 3 and a .902 save percentage. Over the last seven games he has posted an impressive 1.86 GAA and a .945 save percentage. He has a win/loss record of 4-2-1 record over that stretch and has largely been the reason for the IceCaps' moderate success.
Though I'm sure he'd like his teammates to start filling the opponents net any time now.