The St. John’s IceCaps hope to get back to their winning ways and even their Eastern Conference semifinal series as they prepare to take on the Norfolk Admirals in Game 2 on Wednesday night at Mile One Centre.
LAST GAME: The IceCaps ran into a hot goaltender in the Admirals’ John Gibson as he finished the night with 42 saves en route to a 3-1 victory in Game 1 at Mile One Centre Tuesday night.
The Admirals were the first to find the scoreboard in the opening frame as Nic Kerdiles one-timed a pass from Andre Petersson behind IceCaps starter Michael Hutchinson at 10:14.
The teams skated to a scoreless second period in which the IceCaps dominated the play and outshot the Admirals 18-5.
The IceCaps’ perseverance paid off as Andrew Gordon notched his fourth of the playoffs to tie the game just 3:20 into the third period, sending Mile One into a frenzy.
The excitement was short lived as John Kurtz scored the game winner on a scramble in front of Hutchinson’s net less than four minutes later.
Kerdiles added his second of the night into an empty net to seal the victory for Norfolk.
Gibson earned the victory with a brilliant 42-save performance, while Hutchinson allowed two goals on 25 shots.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME: 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… With the goal, Gordon has four goals in his last two games… St. John’s went 0-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. John Gibson 2. Andrew Gordon 3. Nic Kerdiles… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Josh Morrissey.
THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: For the first time in the 2014 Calder Cup playoffs, the IceCaps allowed the opposing team to score the first goal of the game. 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. Game 1 also marked the IceCaps’ first home loss of the 2014 playoffs.
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.
IT TAKES TWO…: With another solid performance in Game 1, Admirals’ goaltender John Gibson has now allowed two goals or fewer in all five playoff games he has started this postseason. After last night’s performance, he is now tied for first in the AHL with a .955 save percentage and his 1.34 goals against average is good for second in the league. Not to be outdone, the IceCaps’ Michael Hutchinson still boasts similar numbers. Hutchinson ranks fourth in both goals against average (1.62) and save percentage (.942%).
…BUT TWO ISN’T ALWAYS GREATER THAN ONE: Dating back to the 2011-12 season, the IceCaps have never recorded a win in Game 2 of a playoff series. The IceCaps lost all three Game 2’s they participated in during the 2012 playoff run (Syracuse, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Norfolk) as well as Game 2 of their 2014 opening round series against Albany.
NOTABLES: IceCaps defenseman Zach Redmond failed to record an assist in Game 1 against Norfolk, snapping his four-game assist streak at four games. Redmond tied the IceCaps playoff record for consecutive games with an assist, originally set in 2012 by Paul Postma (four games from Apr. 21-27)… Andrew Gordon is one goal shy of tying Brock Trotter and Aaron Gagnon (five goals apiece) for first all-time in IceCaps playoff goal-scoring. Gordon has four goals in his first five IceCaps playoff games, tied with Springfield’s Ryan Craig for the AHL lead… All-time, the IceCaps have scored a total of one goal in three home games vs. Norfolk in the playoffs.