4) ST. JOHN’S ICECAPS vs (8) NORFOLK ADMIRALS
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The scorers for the St. John’s IceCaps picked the right time to get hot as the IceCaps poured in four goals in the third period to defeat the Norfolk Admirals 5-3 to earn their first lead of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series. St. John’s looks to take a stranglehold on the series in Game 4 Monday night.
LAST GAME: Eric O’Dell opened the scoring for St. John’s at the 11:43 mark of the opening period, knocking a rebound behind Admirals’ goaltender Brad Thiessen, who assumed the role of starter when John Gibson was recalled to the parent Anaheim Ducks.
The IceCaps’ lead didn’t last for long as Max Friberg and Jesse Blacker scored less than two minutes apart late in the first period to give Norfolk a 2-1 lead heading into the intermission.
The teams skated to a scoreless second period and fans at The Scope didn’t have to wait long for more scoring as Josh Morrissey scored his second goal in as many games and tied the game with a seeing-eye change up from the point that eluded Thiessen just 39 seconds into the third.
The point shot was a useful weapon in the third period as Ben Chiarot picked up his second of the playoffs at 8:48 of the third period as the IceCaps regained the lead.
Josh Manson tied the game for Norfolk less than a minute later on a controversial play that saw IceCaps goaltender Michael Hutchinson knocked down in his crease and unable to make the save.
It wouldn’t matter as the IceCaps went ahead for good just over a minute later when Jerome Samson scored his first of the playoffs at 10:40.
Adam Lowry would add an empty netter with eight seconds left on the clock to seal the victory and the series lead for St. John’s.
Hutchinson earned the victory with a 24-save performance while Thiessen finished with 27 stops.
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 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.
IF YOU AIN’T FIRST, YOU’RE LAST: The IceCaps can attribute a part of their playoff success to the fact that they have been able to find the scoreboard before their opponents. In their seven playoff games, they scored the first goal six times. They have only lost one game this postseason after scoring the first goal of the game.
MORE IN FOUR?: In their history, the IceCaps boast a record of 3-1 in Game 4’s. During their 2012 Calder Cup run, the IceCaps won a pair of Game 4’s (Syracuse, Wilkes Barre/Scranton) in overtime. Their only loss in a Game 4 came at the hands of the Norfolk Admirals on May 22, 2012.
FINDING THE SCORESHEET: Game 3 was a breakout game for many IceCaps. The five goals scored are the most recorded by the IceCaps in a single game this postseason. Thirteen players recorded a point in Game 3 in Norfolk. Only four IceCaps remain pointless in the 2014 playoffs.
BIG SCORER ON D: Defenseman Zach Redmond recorded two assists in Game 3 to overtake Andrew Gordon for the IceCaps team scoring lead. Redmond has six assists in seven postseason games, one point ahead of Gordon. Redmond’s six points is the second-highest point total for a defenceman in the American Hockey League. He trails the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ Brian Dumoulin by two points.
WHERE DID ALL THIS SCORING COME FROM?: The IceCaps used a four-goal third period to top the Admirals in Game 3. Four goals were the most scored in a single game by the IceCaps before Saturday night’s victory in Norfolk. Prior to their hot final period in Game 3, the IceCaps had scored just four goals in their last eight periods of hockey.