ST. JOHN’S, NL — Led by a two-point performance from Eric O’Dell and a stellar 26-save effort from Michael Hutchinson, the St. John’s IceCaps defeated the Norfolk Admirals 5-2 Friday night to close out their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series in six games.
With the win, the IceCaps advance to the Eastern Conference final and now await the winner of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins-Providence Bruins series.
Kyle MacKinnon’s goal stood as the game-winner, while Jerome Samson, Andrew Gordon, and Ben Chiarot also scored for St. John’s. Zach Redmond chipped in with two assists.
The IceCaps opened the scoring just over five minutes into the contest, when Samson notched his third of the post-season. After Adam Lowry’s shot from the corner bounced out to the slot, Samson jumped on the rebound and fired it glove side on Brad Thiessen to make it 1-0.
Andre Petersson evened it up at a goal apiece on the man advantage under two minutes later, wristing a top-corner shot on Hutchinson that eluded him over the glove.
In the second period, O’Dell put the IceCaps ahead 2-1 on a 5-on-3 power play at 10:21. After Gordon fired the shot from the point, the rebound squirted loose to O’Dell, who made no mistake in banging it home.
Steve Eminger tied the game 2-2 at 14:22, however, when he took advantage of a fanned shot attempt by Chris Wagner and tapped the wayward biscuit past Hutchinson from the slot.
St. John’s regained the lead with 2:57 remaining in the frame on MacKinnon’s first of the playoffs. After Brenden Kichton made a swift move to waltz into the circle and fire a shot, the rebound found MacKinnon on the doorstep, who then fired it past Thiessen to make it 3-2.
Gordon extended the IceCaps’ lead to two 3:27 into the third. With St. John’s pressuring in the attacking zone, Chiarot blasted it from the point that caromed over to Gordon at the side of the net, who buried a quick one past Thiessen from an impossible angle.
Then, less than a minute later, Chiarot gave the IceCaps a 5-2 cushion. Wristing it from the point, Chiarot’s shot deflected in off a leg in front before trickling past Thiessen.
From there, the IceCaps poured it on to secure the Game 6 victory and close out their best-of-seven series.
Tickets for the Eastern Conference Final go on sale Saturday, May 17, at 12 p.m., and can be purchased in person at the Mile One Centre box office, by phone at 709-576-7657 or online at http://www.mileonecentre.com. Box office hours are 12-5 p.m. daily.
Notes: Not dressed for St. John’s: Jason Jaffray, Ryan Olsen, Jordan Hill, Cody Lampl, Ryan Schnell, Julian Melchiori, Brandon MacLean, Austen Brassard, Eric Comrie, Jussi Olkinuora, Eddie Pasquale… With the goal, O’Dell extended his goal-scoring streak to four games (six goals)… Chiarot and Redmond each finished with a game-high +3 rating… St. John’s went 1-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Eric O’Dell 2. Michael Hutchinson 3. Ben Chiarot… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Blair Riley.