The St. John’s Ice Caps are one step closer to the Calder Cup, after defeating the Albany Devils in Game Four of their best-of-five Calder Cup Playoff Quarter-Final series, winning the series 3-1.
After splitting the first two games of the series in Albany, the Caps returned home to the Mile One Center in St. John’s, with home-ice advantage for the final three games of the series.
The Caps and Devils met on Wednesday night, with both teams aiming to take the 2-1 series stranglehold. Kael Mouillierat‘s goal at 17:30 of the first period would be the only time either team would find the net in this game, as Michael Hutchinson stopped all 24 shots he faced for his first career AHL post-season shutout. Mouillierat finished with 5 shots along with the goal, and was the game’s Third Star. Albany goaltender Keith Kinkaid stopped 34 shots, earning the Second Star honors, while Hutchinson’s shutout gave him the First Star.
The Ice Caps held the 2-1 lead in the series heading into Friday night’s Game Four, and held the opportunity to finish off the Devils for good. The Caps did just that, due in large part to Andrew Gordon owning the entire night. Gordon scored the first two goals of the game, the second of which was short-handed and stood as the game-winner, and completed the hat-trick with a goal in the third period. John Albert scored his first of the series with time winding down in the second period, giving the Caps a 4-1 lead. Excellent team defense held off a Devils attack of 11 shots in the third period, taking the game, and the series. Hutchinson stopped a whopping 39 shots in the win, but was only the Second Star behind Gordon and his dynamite performance.
My choice for MVP of the series would easily be Michael Hutchinson. Hutchinson came into the series with only two games of Calder Cup Playoff experience, and was outstanding throughout, posting a .952% save percentage and 1.51 GAA, which rank him second and third in the entire league, respectively.
The Ice Caps are off to face the Norfolk Admirals in the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, in a best-of-five playoff series beginning on Tuesday, May 6th. Game Two will go on Wednesday, May 7th, and the remaining dates will be announced in the coming days.
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