St. John's Ice Caps Off To AHL Eastern Conference Final

For the second time in three years, the St. John’s Ice Caps will be one of the AHL’s final four teams in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Kyle MacKinnon’s first goal of the playoffs at the 17:03 mark of the second period turned out to be the series-clinching tally, as the Ice Caps went on to win Game Six soundly 5-2, and punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Final.

Two quick goals by Andrew Gordon and Ben Chiarot to start the third period sealed the win, as the Admirals put up only 8 shots in the third period, compared to St. John’s 16.

It was another night to remember for Eric O’Dell, who continued his series dominance with two more points, earning the game’s First Star. O’Dell now leads the Ice Caps with eight points (7G, 1A) after two rounds.

On a night where Caps’ captain Jason Jaffray wasn’t in the lineup, Gordon filled in well, with two points alongside Jaffray’s usual line-mates of O’Dell and Carl Klingberg.

For the second straight game, Zach Redmond recorded a multi-assist performance, and now sits at a team-high 7 assists after 10 playoff games.

Michael Hutchinson was strong in goal once again, recording 26 crucial saves to close out the series win. At the other end, Brad Thiessen stopped 34 shots on a 39-shot assault by the Ice Caps.

Hutchinson and O’Dell’s leadership in Game Six was the story of the entire series, as the Ice Caps’ goaltender and forward dominated throughout. The Admirals missed the presence of one of the AHL’s best goaltenders, John Gibson, who was recalled to the Anaheim Ducks prior to Game Four of the series. Losing defenseman Sami Vatanen and forward Devante Smith-Pelley, both team leaders in their respective positions, left too little for the Admirals to hold up against the deep, balanced Ice Caps.

St. John’s will retain home-ice advantage in the playoffs, as their fourth-seed is the highest remaining since all of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference were knocked out in the first round. They await the winner of the Providence Bruins/Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins series, which could be over as soon as Monday night, with a Penguins win. If the series goes to Game Seven, the Ice Caps will have a full week off since Friday’s victory before they begin their series.


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