Maxime Sauve‘s goal with 9:11 to play in regulation lifted the Norfolk Admirals to a 3-2 win over Manchester on Friday night and a 3-1 series victory over the top-seeded Monarchs.
The eighth-seeded Admirals are the first team to eliminate a regular-season AHL conference champion in the opening round since 2007 (Iowa def. Omaha).
Andy Andreoff and captain Andrew Campbell responded each time for the Monarchs, but Manchester was held to just three shots on goal in the third period and fell short, losing in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 10th time in 12 postseason trips.
It was the second consecutive game-winner for Sauve, who scored in overtime for Norfolk in Game 3.
John Gibson (3-1) made 17 saves in Friday’s win and finished the series with a 1.42 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage, stopping 108 of 114 shots.
Jean-Francois Berube (1-3) allowed seven goals on 110 shots in the series (1.67, .936) for Manchester.
This was Norfolk’s fifth consecutive playoff series victory. The Admirals missed the postseason in 2013 after winning the Calder Cup in 2012.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “A” (best-of-5)
1-Manchester Monarchs vs. 8-Norfolk Admirals
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 25 – MANCHESTER 2, Norfolk 0
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Norfolk 3, MANCHESTER 2
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 30 – NORFOLK 1, Manchester 0 (OT)
Game 4 – Fri., May 2 – NORFOLK 3, Manchester 2