NORFOLK, VA – The St. John’s IceCaps scored four times in the third as they defeated the Norfolk Admirals 5-3 Saturday at The Scope to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.
Jerome Samson notched the game-winner midway through the third and Michael Hutchinson made 24 saves as the IceCaps won their second straight in the series.
Zach Redmond notched two assists while Eric O’Dell, Josh Morrissey, Ben Chiarot and Adam Lowry – into an empty net – all scored for St. John’s.
The power play got St. John’s on the board first just past the midway point of the opening frame. With the man advantage, O’Dell took a pass in the slot from Redmond and was stopped on his first attempt but chipped in the rebound over Thiessen to make it 1-0.
Norfolk tied it up at 16:53 of the first on a goal by Max Friberg. Friberg followed up on the play off the rush and banged in the loose puck to make it 1-1.
Then just minutes later, the Admirals surged ahead on Jesse Blacker’s first of the playoffs. Blacker skated into the high slot and fired a wrister that beat Hutchinson and gave Norfolk the lead after 20 minutes.
The IceCaps tied it up in the first minute of the third on a strange goal by Morrissey. After patiently handling the puck at the blueline, Morrissey floated a low shot that got through traffic and fooled everyone, including Thiessen, to make it a 2-2 game.
St. John’s jumped on top at 8:48 of the third on Chiarot’s second of the playoffs. John Albert fed Chiarot at the point, and the rearguard blasted a shot past Thiessen to give the visitors a 3-2 advantage.
The Admirals wasted no time in evening the score as Josh Manson knotted the game at three less than a minute later. After Hutchinson was knocked down by an Admirals player, Manson lifted a shot from the ride side over the fallen netminder.
However, the IceCaps came right back and retook the lead for good 1:05 later. Samson gathered the puck near the right circle and snapped a shot by Thiessen, with assists to Jordan Hill and JC Lipon, to put the IceCaps up 4-3.
Adam Lowry scored the empty-netter with eight seconds left to seal the victory.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series goes Monday night at The Scope (8:45 PM NT) with Game 5 scheduled for Tuesday (8:45 PM NT). Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers at www.stjohnsicecaps.com or 930 AM, or watch live at www.ahllive.com. Pregame show begins 30 minutes before puck drop.
Notes: Not dressed for St. John’s: Kris Fredheim, Ryan Olsen, Cody Lampl, Ryan Schnell, Josh Lunden, Julian Melchiori, Brandon MacLean, Austen Brassard, Eric Comrie, Jussi Olkinuora, Eddie Pasquale… Game 3’s attendance was announced at 3,957… St. John’s went 1-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Jerome Samson 2. Ben Chiarot 3. Josh Manson… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Andrew Gordon.