St. John’s, NL — With the help of Andrew Gordon’s hat trick, the St. John’s IceCaps used a 4-1 win to end the Albany Devils season. The IceCaps claimed a 3-1 series advantage and advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Albany, which went 40-23-5-8 during the regular season, was making its first appearance in the Calder Cup Playoffs since 2010.
Friday at Mile One Centre, Gordon powered the IceCaps, scoring at even-strength, shorthanded and on the power play. Jon Albert scored the teams other goal.
Jon Merrill netted Albany’s tally.
“They were certainly the better team tonight,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We were just never able to counter. Being able to respond with that goal was big after they went up 2-0, but that third one was a bit of a back-break.”
IceCaps captain Jason Jaffrey was able to poke the puck free past Keith Kinkaid’s left toe for Gordon who tapped it in for his first of the night, 3:47 into the game.
“That was a puck we couldn’t find,” Kowalsky said. “Keith had his foot on the post and it bounced around. Kind of an ugly goal.”
Gordon struck for the second time right off an offensive zone faceoff. He found his own rebound shorthanded at 7:58 of the middle frame.
Merrill gave some life back to the Devils, pulling within one just 1:19 later. His one-time blast from the right point beat IceCaps netminder Michael Hutchinson at 9:17. Stefan Matteau and Eric Gelinas were credited with the assists on Merrill’s first of the postseason.
“I liked our attitude and the feeling on the bench after we got that goal from [Jon] to make it 2-1,” said assistant captain Tim Sestito. “I thought we made a pretty good push. We had some chances all series long and we just couldn’t finish. In the end, I think that’s what doomed us.”
St. John’s responded with back-to-back goals. Gordons batted in a rebound midair on the power play at 14:28 and Albert capped the scoring at 17:15.
The Devils outshot the IceCaps, 40-33, and went 0-6 on the power play and 3-4 on the penalty kill.
Kinkaid, who started for Albany in all four games, finished the postseason with a 2.26 GAA and .932 save percentage. Merrill (1G, 1A), Kelly Zajac (2A), Matteau (1G, 1A), Mike Sislo (1G, 1A) and Mattias Tedenby (1G, 1A) each tallied two point in their playoff debuts.