In as close to a must-win situation as you can get, the St. John’s IceCaps came through with a 2-1 victory over the Norfolk Admirals on Wednesday night, squaring their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series at one game apiece.
The IceCaps salvaged a split of the first two games on home ice after dropping Game 1 on Tuesday.
Following a scoreless first period, St. John’s broke through when Josh Morrissey scored at 2:48 of the second. Working on an IceCaps power play, Morrissey brought the puck up the left-wing side, entered the offensive zone and snapped a shot that beat John Gibson for his first professional goal.
Less then three minutes later, St. John’s doubled its lead as Jason Jaffray picked off a Norfolk clearing attempt down low and beat Gibson on another power play to make it 2-0. St. John’s went 2-for-6 with the man advantage in Game 2 after Norfolk had killed off 21 of 22 shorthanded chances to begin the postseason.
Norfolk pulled back to within one at 10:05 of the third period, as Dave Steckel‘s shot was stopped by Michael Hutchinson but Chris Wagner found the loose rebound sitting on the goal line and knocked it home.
Hutchinson (4-2) made 32 saves in the win for the IceCaps. Gibson (4-2) made 39 stops as the Admirals were outshot by a 41-33 count.
The series shifts to Norfolk for the next three games, beginning Saturday night.
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 – ST. JOHN’S 2, Norfolk 1
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