As the Montreal Canadiens focus on their own postseason, their American Hockey League (AHL) and East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) affiliates will be doing the same. For the first time since the 2010-11 season, both affiliates will play past the regular season in the same year.
In their last season in St. John’s before moving to Laval, the IceCaps are heading to the AHL Calder Cup playoffs. The IceCaps benefited from the playoff qualification system. With two conferences consisting of two divisions each, four teams from each division make the playoffs. In the Eastern Conference, the divisions are very unbalanced. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who are 5th best in the Eastern Conference… are also 5th best in their division and do not qualify.
However, this is not to take anything away from the IceCaps. Their 82 points is the best of any Habs AHL affiliate since the Hamilton Bulldogs won the North Division with 95 in 2010-11. St. John’s finished with a 36-30-8-2 record with 216 goals for and 220 goals conceded.
During the regular season, the IceCaps offence was led by Chris Terry, whom the Canadiens signed to a one-year deal this past summer. Below on the list include younger prospects such as Charles Hudon, Nikita Scherbak, and Jacob de la Rose. All of which were drafted by the Habs. Max Friberg, the 24-year old Swede, came to the organization in the Dustin Tokarski trade.
Going into the season, it was pretty well expected that Zach Fucale would be the AHL starter this year. However, that was clearly not the case. Charlie Lindgren – the undrafted free agent signed out of St. Cloud State University earned the starting job. As a result, it made sense to get Fucale playing time by assigning him to the ECHL. In Lindgren’s AHL rookie season, he finished with a winning record and some fairly impressive stats. 35-year old Yann Danis was definitely a fine back-up as well, having a good influence on the younger Lindgren.
The first round of the AHL playoffs is a best-of-5 series as per usual. With the better record, the Syracuse Crunch – AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning will have home ice advantage.
Schedule (All Times ET)
Syracuse @ St. John’s – Fri. April, 21st: 7:30pm
Syracuse @ St. John’s – Sat. April, 22nd: 7:30pm
St. John’s @ Syracuse – Wed. April, 26th: 7:00pm
*St. John’s @ Syracuse – Fri. April, 28th: 7:00pm
*St. John’s @ Syracuse – Sat. April, 29th: 7:00pm
* = If Necessary
In only their second year as the ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s most successful all-time franchise, the Brampton Beast are a playoff team. With a strong 40-24-3-5 record, the Beast clinched the third place spot in the North Division and a spot in the playoffs. The lone Canadian franchise are looking to win their first ever Kelly Cup.
The Brampton Beast had a ton of offence this season. Top three players in points all with a point per game, a 40+ goal scorer and two with 50+ assists. The 8th-ranked offence (263 goals for) evidently helped push the team to success, balancing out having the 8th most goals against (256).
Zach Fucale spent the vast majority of his 2016-17 season in the ECHL. Despite his goals against average and save percentage numbers, he had a pretty respectable record. With 25 wins, Fucale has become the only Beast goaltender to earn over 20 victories in a season. As a result, he owns the team record for most wins in a single season.
The first round of the ECHL Kelly Cup playoffs is a best-of-7 format. The Brampton Beast have already begun taking on division rivals – Reading Royals (ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers). The series is tied at 1 after two games in Reading, Pennsylvania. In game 1, Reading won 2-1. In game 2, Brampton bounced back to tie the series with a 2-1 win.
Schedule (All Times ET)
Brampton @ Reading – READING WINS 2-1
Brampton @ Reading – BRAMPTON WINS 2-1
Reading @ Brampton – Tue. April, 18th: 7:15pm
Reading @ Brampton – Thu. April, 20th: 7:15pm
Reading @ Brampton – Sat. April, 22nd: 8:00pm
*Brampton @ Reading – Mon. April, 24th: 7:00pm
*Brampton @ Reading – Tue April, 25th: 7:00pm
* = If Necessary
All About The Habs wishes the St. John’s IceCaps and the Brampton Beast on their respective postseasons. We encourage fans of the Canadiens to get out and support their affiliates if possible!