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Captain Jason Jaffray had a three-point night and Eric O’Dell chipped in with a pair of goals as the St. John’s IceCaps rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Norfolk Admirals to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
LAST GAME: The IceCaps struck first for the seventh time in eight postseason games on Monday night as Carl Klingberg earned his first goal of the playoffs deflecting a shot from Will O’Neill behind Admirals starter Brad Thiessen at 4:11 of the first period.
A power play goal from Jason Jaffray at 14:39 gave the IceCaps an early 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The IceCaps kept rolling early in the second period as Jerome Samson and O’Dell had padded the lead to 4-0 by the 4:05 mark.
Andre Petersson gave the Admirals some hope with a goal at 8:05 of the second period but Norfolk would be unable to find the back of the net for the remainder of the game as IceCaps starting goaltender Michael Hutchinson stood tall.
O’Dell’s second of the night at 14:57 of the third period was more than enough as the IceCaps won and took a two-game lead, with the opportunity to clinch the series in Norfolk on Tuesday night.
Hutchinson earned the victory and finished the night with 28 stops, while Norfolk starter Brad Thiessen stopped 23 of the 28 shots he faced.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME: 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 4’s attendance was announced at 2112… St. John’s went 1-for-7 on the power play and 0-for-5 on the penalty kill… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Eric O’Dell 2. Jason Jaffray 3. Carl Klingberg… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Jordan Hill.
PP ON THE MEND: After scoring just a pair of power play goals in their opening round series against the Albany Devils, the St. John’s IceCaps have begun to find their groove with the extra skater and have scored a power play goal in three consecutive games. The IceCaps have scored four power play goals on 17 opportunities over their last three games.
CROWDED LEADERBOARD: Four players (Jason Jaffray (2G, 4A), Josh Morrissey (2G, 4A), Will O’Neill (6A) and Zach Redmond (6A) are now tied for the IceCaps team lead with six points in eight postseason contests. Eric O’Dell and Andrew Gordon are tied for the team goal scoring lead with four apiece.
BUILDING MOMENTUM: With the victory in Game 4, the IceCaps have posted three consecutive victories for the first time in the playoffs. The IceCaps have never won three consecutive postseason games on the road.
SCORING FRENZY: After finishing Game 3 with a big third period and getting off to a quick start in Game 4, the IceCaps have found the back of the net ten times over the last two games. It took the IceCaps five games to score their first ten goals of the playoffs.
ALIVE FOR GAME FIVE: The IceCaps have only once played in a Game 5 in their three-year history in the American Hockey League. They dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on May 8, 2012. They would go on to win the series in seven games.
HEAD-TO-HEAD LEADERS (2014 Playoffs)
STJ: Josh Morrissey 5 PTS (2G, 4A) | Will O’Neill 5 PTS (5A) | Michael Hutchinson (3-1-0, 1.76 GAA, .939 SV%)
NOR: Andre Petersson 3 PTS (1G, 2A) | Nic Kerdiles 2 PTS (2G) Brad Thiessen (0-2-0, 4.54 GAA, .845 SV%)