Ben Chiarot scored the game-winner with 23.1 seconds left in regulation to lift the St. John’s IceCaps to a 2-1 win over the Albany Devils in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series at Times Union Center in Albany, NY.
Chiarot blasted a one-timer from the point past Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid with time ticking down in the third as St. John’s fired the opening salvo in the best-of-five series.
Eric O’Dell also scored for the IceCaps and Michael Hutchinson stopped 25 shots in the win. Joe Whitney had the lone tally for Albany, while Kinkaid made 30 saves in a losing effort.
The IceCaps struck first during some 4-on-4 action 4:29 into the opening period. Jerome Samson forced a turnover behind the net and made a great play to get the puck to O’Dell in front, who backhanded a shot along the ice past Kinkaid for a 1-0 St. John’s lead.
Albany tied things up early in the second on a power play. Whitney took a pass from Joe Merrill in the high slot and stickhandled before snapping a shot past Hutchinson to make it a 1-1 game.
The IceCaps lead the best-of-five series 1-0 with Game 2 scheduled for Saturday night at Times Union Center (8:30 p.m. NT). Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com, 930 AM and www.ahllive.com. Pregame show begins at 8:00.
Notes: Not dressed for St. John’s: Will O’Neill, Cody Lampl, Ryan Schnell, Julian Melchiori, Brandon MacLean, Austen Brassard, Adam Lowry, Eric Comrie… St. John’s went 0-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Ben Chiarot 2. Michael Hutchinson 3. Joe Whitney… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Patrice Cormier.