ST. JOHN’S, Nl. – Norfolk’s rookie goaltender John Gibson made an eye-popping 42 saves and fellow rookie Nic Kerdiles scored two goals in a 3-1 win over the St. Johns IceCaps on Tuesday night at Mile One Centre. The Admirals’ take a 1-0 series lead.
Gibson (4-1-0) allowed just one goal on 43 shots while Michael Hutchinson (3-2-0) saved 24 shots in the loss.
As the clock moved past the halfway point of the first period, Andre Petersson’s effort on the forecheck paid off when he stole a puck and shoveled it into the slot for an oncoming Nic Kerdiles. All alone ahead of backchecking IceCaps, Kerdiles rifled a snap shot over Hutchinson’s left shoulder and the Admirals took a 1-0 lead at 10:14.
The 1-0 score held through the second period, but changed early in the third. As a Norfolk penalty expired, St. John’s’ Josh Morrissey slapped a puck from the blue line that caught a piece of Andrew Gordon’s stick on its way past Gibson. The deflection goal came three minutes and 20 seconds into the final frame but would not go unanswered by the Admirals.
Norfolk regained the lead at the 7:00 mark of the third when Zack Stortini crowded Hutchinson on a shot that bounced off the IceCap netminder’s chest in front of the Admirals’ bruiser. Stortini kicked the puck across the crease for an awaiting John Kurtz. By himself at the far post, Kurtz cleaned up the loose puck in the blue paint and Norfolk went back up, 2-1.
Kerdiles tacked on an empty-net goal with 16 seconds remaining to seal a 3-1 Game 1 win and a 1-0 series lead for the Admirals.
Norfolk snatches control of the series with the first victory of the semifinal and looks forward to three games in a row at home after Game 2 in St. John's. Game 2 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal starts at 7:30 p.m. Newfoundland time and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Second round tickets are available for purchase for individual games coming up this Saturday as well as Monday of next week. Visit the Scope Box Office, a Ticketmaster outlet, or charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000. Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com.
1. John Gibson - NOR
2. Andrew Gordon - STJ
3. Nic Kerdiles - NOR