ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Eric O'Dell scored the game-winner Saturday as the St. John's IceCaps defeated the Norfolk Admirals 3-2 in the American Hockey League.
Zach Remond, Jason Jaffray also scored for the IceCaps (4-3-0).
St. John's starter Mark Dekanich made 28 saves in the win and Frederik Anderson made 40 saves for the Admirals.
The IceCaps came out of the gate firing in a penalty-filled first period.
St. John's led 16-5 in shots after one, jumping out to a 9-0 shot total in the first half of the period.
It took 26 shots for the IceCaps before they managed to get on the board at 11:33 in the second period.
Redmond's initial shot hit the defender's shin pads, but came back to him and he buried it.
Jaffray then jumped on a rebound at 13:14 to put the IceCaps ahead by two in his second game back from a nearly-career ending neck injury sustained last season.
The IceCaps had a special celebration for the captain's goal as his teammates mobbed him into the boards with a group hug.
"It was a great feeling," Jaffray said. "That's the kind of stuff that you really miss out on when you're away from the game for a long time, is to hear the crowd cheering after you score a goal or after they announce your name."
Dekanich was excited up to see Jaffray score his first of the year, and said it was remarkable comeback story.
"What a comeback story, it's awesome to see," Dekanich said. "He's a great player. I'm happy for him and I'm sure everybody else is here too."
Dekanich, who is a comeback story himself after missing almost the entire season with an ankle injury last year, was pleased to get his first home win of the season.
"It's great playing in front of the fans here, we know it's going to be a packed house," he said. "It feels great."
Smith-Pelly scored to pull within one goal at 19:22, tapping in a backhander off a rebound.
The second ended with St John's still dominating the shot clock 30-14.
St. John's was rewarded for keeping the pressure up when O'Dell wrapped around the net and banged home a rebound at 8:27.
Vatanen brought the game within one with a booming slap-shot from the point at 15:10.
IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge said his team played a complete game after earning a split with Portland earlier this week.
"I thought our players were more invested tonight," he said. "All four lines, our six d, to our goaltender, I thought we played the way that we need to play."
McCambridge praised O'Dell, who currently shares the goals lead with Redmond with four each, for playing with such confidence this season.
"(O'Dell) has always shown flashes of being a real strong player when he gets the opportunity," he said. "You can see he has more confidence with the puck out there."
The IceCaps and Admiral were both 1-for-5 on the power play.
Norfolk does not have the same roster it had when the club posted a historic winning streak and hoisted the Calder Cup last season because the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning moved their affiliate team to Syracuse.