The St. John's IceCaps have hit their stride, and are on a franchise record eight-game winning streak. But ask any of the players, and they'll tell you that the team's turnaround came on the heels of their most humiliating loss this season.
Jason Jaffray, team captain, says the drive to make a change came after a 6-0 loss on home ice to the Manchester Monarchs on Jan. 18.
Jaffray called a players-only meeting after that game.
"It wasn't a screaming meeting, it wasn't something where I'm yelling at guys, calling guys out, it was just something where everybody needed to get something off their chest," he said.
According to Jaffray, the players re-committed to working together as a team, but that wasn't the only challenge they faced.
Team goalie Eddie Pasquale was taken out of play with a season-ending injury.
However, Jaffray said Michael Hutchinson came in from the East Coast Hockey League to fill in for Pasquale, and was a breath of fresh air.
"He's absolutely been on fire. I mean, the only question mark we had in the last month was our goaltending, and he's probably been our best player," he said.
Coach Keith McCambridge said now it's just a matter of keeping an eye on the finish line.
"We are only six points out of not being in the playoffs, it's a really tight conference here, so we have to make sure we keep pushing forward," McCambridge said.
"There's still areas that we need to improve on here, and there's still 17 games left in the season, but there are some real positive things that are starting to form and take place."
The team faces another challenge with Eric O'Dell being called up to the Winnipeg Jets, and leading scorer Kale Murad is out for the remainder of the season with an injury.
The IceCaps are back on home ice Wednesday night at Mile One Centre facing the Portland Pirates in the first of three games.