OT win puts Norfolk on the verge

(CP) — St. John’s, N.L., is on the edge of North America, but the IceCaps found themselves teetering on a different sort of edge after Monday night’s 1-0 overtime loss to the Norfolk Admirals.

The IceCaps are close to elimination in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final after losing the first three games of the series.

Dustin Tokarski led the Admirals with a 25-save shutout and Pierre-Cedric Labrie scored the game-winning goal.

Labrie’s goal was a result of a turnover on the Admirals blue-line from Arturs Kulda.

Kulda’s shot was blocked before Labrie skated the length of the ice to score the unassisted goal just 1:37 into the extra period.

Eddie Pasquale made 26 saves for St. John’s.

The scoreline was indicative of the tight-checking game, but it was frustrating for the IceCaps not to score, according to St. John’s defenceman Brett Festerling.

“We kept them off the score board for the majority of the game and OT, but at the same time we need to score one to win,” said Festerling.

The game featured some quality chances for St. John’s, which led head coach Keith McCambridge to praise his team’s game.

“I thought overall our game was the best game we’ve played in this series,” said McCambridge. “I thought to a man the guys gave everything they had out there.”

Festerling knows the team has to focus on one moment at a time and not winning four back-to-back games.

“One game at a time, one period as a time, one shift at a time,” said the veteran defenceman. “I think it’s really cliche but that’s what we’ve got to do.

“We’ve got to put it on the line and hold nothing back, because there’s nothing to save it for.”

McCambridge is confident that if any team can rally back it’s the IceCaps.

“I know that team digs in and gives everything it has and I expect the same thing tomorrow and they expect the same thing themselves,” said the St. John’s coach. “If anybody can dig themselves out of this hole it’s that character, that personnel right there.”

Prospect Mark Scheifele, who has provided a jolt of offensive energy for the IceCaps in the last two games, believes St. John’s can be just as hungry and desperate in Tuesday’s game.

“We can’t dwell on this game too much. It was an emotional game, it was a hard-fought game,” said Scheifele. “We need to come out just as strong and just as desperate tomorrow.”

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
1-Norfolk Admirals vs. 2-St. John’s IceCaps

Game 1 – Thurs., May 17 – NORFOLK 6, St. John’s 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 19 – NORFOLK 3, St. John’s 1 
Game 3 – Mon., May 21 – Norfolk 1, ST. JOHN’S 0 (OT)
Game 4 – Tue., May 22 – Norfolk at St. John’s, 6:00 
*Game 5 – Sat., May 26 – Norfolk at St. John’s, 6:00 
*Game 6 – Tue., May 29 – St. John’s at Norfolk, 7:15
*Game 7 – Wed., May 30 – St. John’s at Norfolk, 7:15