LAST GAME: Andrew Gordon scored a hat trick as the St. John’s IceCaps finally solved Albany Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid in a series-clinching 4-1 win in Game 4 at Mile One Centre.
Gordon opened the scoring for the IceCaps on a scramble in front of Kincaid just 3:47 into the opening period. The goal marked the fourth consecutive game in which they scored the game’s first goal.
Gordon’s second of the game, a shorthanded goal, gave the IceCaps a rare two-goal lead at 7:58 of the second period before the Devils cut the deficit to one under two minutes later, when Jon Merrill blasted a shot from the point through traffic that eluded starter Michael Hutchinson on his glove side.
Gordon completed the hat trick at 14:28 of the second period, batting a puck out of the air and behind Kinkaid to restore the two-goal lead.
John Albert gave the IceCaps a three-goal lead with a great effort to score on his own rebound with 2:45 left in the second period to put the game out of reach heading into the final frame.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME: Not dressed for St. John’s: Ryan Olsen, Cody Lampl, Ryan Schnell, Josh Lunden, Julian Melchiori, Adam Lowry, Brandon MacLean, Austen Brassard, Eric Comrie, Jussi Olkinuora, Eddie Pasquale… Gordon’s hat trick was the first by an IceCap in playoff history… With the assist, Zach Redmond tied an IceCaps playoff record for consecutive games with an assist (four)… St. John’s went 1-for-4 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Andrew Gordon 2. Michael Hutchinson 3. John Albert… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Ben Chiarot.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE: The St. John’s IceCaps are the highest remaining seed remaining in the Eastern Conference, as both the first, second and third seeds were eliminated in the first round. If they were to qualify, The IceCaps would maintain home ice advantage through the Eastern Conference Finals.
STARTING THE RIGHT WAY: St. John’s scored the first goal in all four games of their opening series. In the regular season, the IceCaps went 29-8-0-2 when scoring before the opposition.
NICE TO MEET YOU: Like the Devils, the IceCaps did not face the Norfolk Admirals during the 2013-14 regular season. The Admirals and Devils are two of just three teams in the Eastern Conference that the IceCaps have not faced this season. The Adirondack Phantoms are the other.
GOALTENDING CLINIC: Both the IceCaps’ and Admirals’ starting goaltenders Michael Hutchinson and John Gibson have been big factors in their teams’ success through the first round of the playoffs. Gibson (1.42) and Hutchinson (1.51) rank second and third in goals against average, respectively, among goaltenders with more than one game started. Hutchinson’s .952 save percentage is good for second in the American Hockey League, while Gibson’s .947 ranks him fourth.
SEEKING REVENGE: Over their first three seasons in the American Hockey League, the Norfolk Admirals are the only team to have eliminated the St. John’s IceCaps in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Norfolk swept St. John’s in the Eastern Conference Final in 2012 en route to a Calder Cup championship.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Admirals were the AHL’s top team on the penalty kill in the regular season (88.1%) and that trend has continued in the playoffs. Norfolk has killed off 16-of-17 penalties and sits second only to the Texas Stars, who have killed off all nine shorthanded situations.
MISSING PERSONS: Norfolk is missing its top two goal scorers from the regular season. Devante Smith-Pelly (team-high 27 goals) and Emerson Etem (24 goals and 54 points) are both on recall with the Anaheim Ducks, who are currently in a second round matchup with the L.A. Kings.
NOTABLES: With an assist in Game 4 against Albany, Zach Redmond has tied an IceCaps playoff record for consecutive games with an assist, originally set in 2012 by Paul Postma (four games from Apr. 21-27)… Admirals F Maxime Sauve has scored the game-winning goal in back-to-back games.