The second quarter of St. John’s season had more ups than downs as the team really struggled with consistency. That was particularly an issue on the back end, which is where we start with our quarterly grades.
Players must have played in at least 5/19 games to receive a grade.
Zach Fucale: B-: Fucale once again had a couple of clunkers that skews what was an otherwise largely decent set of games. He’s still prone to the odd softie and has been beaten due to a lack of focus a few times but he has kept the IceCaps in most of the games he has started. All in all, he was a bit better this past quarter than the first one; slow progress is still good progress.
Stats: 11 GP, 2-6-0 record, 2.86 GAA, .912 SV%
Eddie Pasquale: C: There were nights where Pasquale was worthy of a first star selection. There were others where you wondered if he had ever played the position before. Pasquale is a bit of an unconventional netminder but if he wants to have a bigger role in the second half, he needs to be a lot more consistent.
Stats: 8 GP, 4-2-1 record, 3.14 GAA, .901 SV%
N/A: Dustin Tokarski (only 4 GP and was subsequently traded.)
Morgan Ellis: B+: He hasn’t been as prolific a goal scorer over the last few weeks but that’s about the only downside to his game. Ellis continues to be a focal point on special teams and has shifted back and forth between the left and right sides without much difficulty. With Barberio’s All-Star spot likely to be vacated, Ellis could be in the running to take his place.
Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 8 assists, 10 points, -1 rating, 8 PIMS, 44 shots
Mark Barberio: B: He wasn’t able to maintain his prolific point pace towards the end of November (seven points in four games) but Barberio was still a go-to blueliner and was a mainstay on the top unit. Penalties were a bit of an issue which is why he slots below Ellis but all in all, he earned his call-up to the big club.
Stats: 7 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, -3 rating, 10 PIMS, 17 shots
Darren Dietz: B: Dietz took some strides towards becoming more involved offensively but he just doesn’t seem to be able to put his all-around game together which is really holding him back from making the next step. With Barberio up, he’s now going to be forced into a top pairing spot more often than not so the pressure is going to be on him more now than he’s used to.
Stats: 18 GP, 1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points, even rating, 6 PIMS, 36 shots
Brett Lernout: C+: Lernout spent most of this stretch as the sixth defender but Sylvain Lefebvre has started to move him up the lineup in recent games. He has focused primarily on the play in his own end and hasn’t had the chances to produce like he did in junior as the team is taking a slow but steady approach with him. Like Fucale, slow progress is still good progress.
Stats: 19 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, +1 rating, 28 PIMS, 16 shots
Josiah Didier: C+: After spending some a bit of time in Brampton and a lot of time in the St. John’s press box early on, Didier has pushed himself into a regular spot in the lineup. There’s no denying his game has limitations – he has no offensive game at all – but he has held his own in a stay-at-home role.
Stats: 19 GP, 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points, -5 rating, 16 PIMS, 10 shots
Joel Hanley: C: Hanley appears to have surpassed Mac Bennett on the depth chart and after being a #6/7 guy at times this year is now in more of a #5 role. His play hasn’t been anything to write home about though as he doesn’t really bring any major elements to the table. Hanley is more or less a depth guy playing a depth role and doing an average-to-adequate job most nights.
Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, -1 rating, 13 PIMS, 21 shots
Mac Bennett: D: Instead of stepping up this season, Bennett has found himself tumbling down the depth chart to the point where he has been a healthy scratch frequently the last several weeks. He has tried to bring more of a physical game to the table but that hasn’t masked some issues in his own end. With that and a continued lack of production, there is a lot for him to improve on in the second half.
Stats: 11 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -6 rating, 24 PIMS, 5 shots
Dalton Thrower: D: Thrower was once again a frequent scratch when up with the IceCaps and when he did play, it was often in a seventh defenceman role. He’s halfway into his second season of his entry-level deal and still can’t crack the lineup on even a semi-regular basis. That’s simply not good enough.
Stats: 5 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, +1 rating, 16 PIMS, 2 shots
N/A: Ryan Johnston (only 1 GP), Jarred Tinordi (traded)