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Norfolk strikes first in St. John’s

Nic Kerdiles scored twice and John Gibson made 42 saves as the Norfolk Admirals opened their Eastern Conference semifinal series with a 3-1 win over the St. John’s IceCaps at Mile One Centre on Tuesday night.

The Admirals, who have won four straight games, lead the best-of-seven series 1-0 with Game 2 set for Wednesday.

Kerdiles, a 2012 second-round draft pick by Anaheim who joined Norfolk last month following his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin, got the Admirals on the board first 10:14 into the game. Andre Petersson forced an IceCaps turnover in the corner and fed Kerdiles, who snapped a shot from in front past Michael Hutchinson.

After a scoreless second period in which the IceCaps owned an 18-5 edge in shots, St. John’s finally pulled even at 3:20 of the third when Andrew Gordon deflected a point shot from Josh Morrissey past Gibson just as an IceCaps power play was expiring.

Norfolk regained the lead less than four minutes later. A rebound of Kevin Gagne‘s shot couldn’t be cleared and John Kurtz finally buried the loose puck at the 7:00 mark to put the Admirals back in front, 2-1. Zack Stortini also drew an assist on the play.

Norfolk sealed the win with 13.8 seconds to play as Dave Steckel won a defensive-zone draw and Max Friberg pushed the puck ahead to Kerdiles, who raced off and found the empty net for his second goal of the night.

With 42 saves on 43 shots in Game 1, Gibson (4-1) has now allowed just seven goals on 157 shots (1.34, .955) during the postseason.

Hutchinson (3-2, 1.62, .946) stopped 23 of 25 shots in the loss.

Eastern Conference Semifinals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
4-St. John’s IceCaps vs. 8-Norfolk Admirals

Game 1 – Tue., May 6 – Norfolk 3, ST. JOHN’S 1
Game 2 – Wed., May 7 – Norfolk at St. John’s, 6:00
Game 3 – Sat., May 10 – St. John’s at Norfolk, 8:00
Game 4 – Mon., May 12 – St. John’s at Norfolk, 7:15
*Game 5 – Tue., May 13 – St. John’s at Norfolk, 7:15
*Game 6 – Fri., May 16 – Norfolk at St. John’s, 6:00
*Game 7 – Sat., May 17 – Norfolk at St. John’s, 6:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern