Sunday, April 6, 2014

2013-14: Recapping the Ice regular season

Before we dive into the playoffs, it's time to look back at a pretty stellar 2013-14 regular season. It's one that didn't start out terribly well (the Ice started 0-3-1 and were 2-4-2 through eight games), but once this young team found its stride, it really found its stride and ended up posting a 42-11-7 mark. Take out the 2-4-2 start and the 2-2-0 finish, and this team went an amazing 38-7-5 through the bulk of the season. About the only thing standing between this team and the Anderson Cup was a 1-5 OT mark.

Coach/GM Jeff Brown came into this team midway through the 2012-13 season, and spent much of that year tinkering -- a lot of roster turnover, a lot of fan favorites were traded for players and picks, and the Ice got a lot younger. That set them up beautifully for this year, as they were able to stock up on draft picks and use them to augment a team with a small handful of holdovers -- Josh Jacobs, Mitch Hults, captain Tyler Pham among them. The Ice immediately became a team that fit Brown's style -- one that plays disciplined, doesn't make a ton of mistakes, and spreads its scoring out. The Ice could roll out 20-goal scorers on three different lines this year, allowing them to beat people with depth. They won the Eastern Conference regular season title going away, and now turn to the playoffs, which will be a minefield -- the Ice would have to beat two of Green Bay, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque en route to the finals, and those teams all will be tough matchups.

Looking back, this team set a ton of records. Among them:
  • The overall record of 42-11-7 was best in team history (35-19-6, 2007-08, the only other division championship team, which was led by NHLers Paul Carey and John Carlson)
  • The 21-6-3 road record was also a team record (breaking an 18-10-2 mark set in 2010-11). The home mark of 21-5-4 was one game off the 2007-08 team's mark at home (22-4-4).
  • 8 shutouts are the most by an Ice team (the 2010-11 team had six). 
  • For the second time in their history, the Ice were not shutout, tying a mark set in 2011-12. 
  • The 8-0-2 January mark was the best month ever by an Ice team, and the first in team history without a regulation loss. The previous best was a 9-1-0 November of 2007. 
  • The Ice set franchise records with an eight-game winning streak from March 7-28, and a 10-game road winning streak that lasted from Nov. 23 to Jan. 25. 
  • 141 goals allowed was a franchise record -- by far -- breaking the 166 allowed by the 2010-11 team and the goaltending tandem of Jon Gillies and Casey DeSmith. The 233 goals scored were second-most to that 2010-11 team.
  • Individually, Scott Conway's 33-goal season was fifth-most in team history. Daniil Tarasov holds the top two spots, with 47 goals in 2011-12 and 37 goals the previous year. Blake Coleman (2010-11) and Paul Carey (2007-08) had 34-goal seasons. It's the sixth 30-goal season in team history. Sean Kuraly had 32 goals in 2011-12. Conway's 68 points were eighth-most in team history. The recordholder is Blake Coleman, who had 92 points in 2010-11.
  • Conway became the first player in Ice history to score four goals in a game when he did so on April 2 against Dubuque in a 9-1 win. He and teammate Dwyer Tschantz (G, 4A) tied the team mark with five points in that game, which had previously been set by Anthony Bitetto, Blake Coleman (twice), Daniil Tarasov and Brian Ferlin. 
  • On March 22, Brian Pinho scored a natural hat trick in a win over Youngstown. Scott Conway had two hat tricks -- a four-goal game on April 2 against Dubuque, and a three-goal game on March 7 against Lincoln. 
  • Tyler Pham completed his third full season with the Ice, playing 168 games. That is third to Nick Bailen (221) and Brent Gwidt (171). 
  • Hayden Stewart's 13 consecutive wins are the most by an Ice goaltender. He and Jason Pawloski set team marks for best GAA (Stewart 1.29, Palwoski 2.46; previous best was Cab Morris' 2.57 in 2009-10) and tied the mark for season shutouts (each had 4, tying Brett Bennett's number in 2008-09). The four shutouts for each (and Bennett) are a three-way tie for second overall, as Jon Gillies had six during his two-year career with the Ice from 2010-12. Pawloski's 27 wins are third-most in a season for an Ice goaltender (Bennett 35, 2009; Gillies 31, 2012). 
  • Hayden Stewart broke Jon Gillies' record for consecutive shutout minutes at 203:49 -- he blanked Youngstown 3-0 on Feb. 8, beat the same team 2-0 the following night, and had two and a half scoreless periods on Feb. 14 before Tri-City broke the streak. Stewart still won the game 4-1. 
  • Pawloski and Stewart also had back-to-back shutouts on March 15 (Pawloski 2-0 over Green Bay) and 21 (Stewart 5-0 over Muskegon). 
  • The Ice ticket office was at work, drawing several big crowds, including the 12,100 on Pack the House Night, a 4-1 win over Chicago on March 1. They also drew 6,404 on April 4 vs. Green Bay; 5,884 on Feb. 8 vs. Youngstown; 5,226 on Dec. 30 vs. Muskegon; and 5,082 on March 23 vs. Muskegon, Five of their last seven games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse drew crowds in excess of 5,000 fans. 
Full team stats
2013-14 game-by-game results
Time to look ahead to the playoffs. Look for a full preview of the Ice-Green Bay series Monday. Games 1 & 2 will be Friday/Saturday at Pan Am Pavilion, puck drop at 7:05 p.m. for each game.

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