IceCaps dispatch Admirals with another five-goal performance
ST. JOHN’S, Nl. – The St. John’s IceCaps scored five goals for the third time in this series to eliminate the Norfolk Admirals with a 5-2 win Friday night at Mile One Center in Newfoundland. St. John’s wins the Eastern Conference Semifinal, 4-2, and advances to the 2014 Calder Cup Eastern Conference Final.
Admirals’ goaltender Brad Thiessen (1-3) allowed five goals on 39 total shots faced. The winning goalie, IceCaps’ Michael Hutchinson (7-3), stopped 26 shots out of the 28 that came his way.
Five and half minutes in, St. John’s pounced on a rebound off Thiessen’s pad. The IceCaps’ Adam Lowry drove into the Norfolk zone and fired a shot off Thiessen’s left pad that ricocheted directly to Jerome Samson to the wide side. Samson trapped the rebound and snapped it back on net to an open right side before Thiessen could recover. St. John’s led 1-0 at 5:29 of the first period.
Norfolk entered Game 6 converting on only three of 32 power play opportunities, but used the man advantage to even the score less than two minutes later. Admirals’ rookie Shea Theodore cycled the puck around to the near side to Andre Petersson standing in the left circle. Petersson surveyed and looked off Hutchinson before ripping a shot past the IceCap netminder’s right shoulder. The Swede knotted it up at 1-1 at the 7:13 mark of the opening period.
As the clock ran past the halfway point in the second period, Admiral defenseman Steve Eminger airmailed a clearing attempt on the penalty kill into the stands and joined Chris Wagner in the box. On the ensuing five-on-three power play for St. John’s, Eric O’Dell jammed a rebound in the crease under Thiessen’s left leg amongst several bodies at the doorstep of the Norfolk goal. It was O’Dell’s sixth goal in the last four games and it put the IceCaps in front at 10:21 of the second frame.
The back-and-forth continued four minutes later when Emerson Etem whiffed on a shot but got a piece of it that sent the puck gently rolling into the lower slot. Eminger was there for the Admirals and redirected the puck by Hutchinson’s left skate and inside the right post. The Norfolk defenseman’s first goal of the playoffs tied it, 2-2, at 14:22 of the second period.
With three minutes to play in the second, St. John’s struck again to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission on a backhander up close by Kyle MacKinnon. He scooped his first goal of the playoffs over Thiessen’s left pad at 17:03 after the Norfolk netminder gave up a rebound on a Brendan Kichton shot.
St. John’s carried the 3-2 advantage into the final period and pushed a Game 7 out of Norfolk’s grasp with two more goals in less than a minute early in the third. First, Andrew Gordon swept a rebound by a sprawling Thiessen from a slim angle three minutes and 27 seconds into the period. Forty-one seconds later, St. John’s’ Ben Chiarot let loose from the left point and saw his seeing-eye shot reach the back of the net at 4:08 of the third.
Two quick goals and three unanswered markers deflated the Admirals and their season. The three-goal gap was more than enough for the IceCaps to end Norfolk’s season in the sixth game of the 2014 Calder Cup Eastern Conference Semifinal, 5-2.
The Admirals head home with an even 5-5 record in the playoffs, losing the series, 4-2, to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, the St. John’s IceCaps.
1. Eric O’Dell - STJ
2. Michael Hutchinson - STJ
3. Ben Chiarot - STJ