NORFOLK, Va. Ė Andre Peterssonís slap shot at 13:10 of the overtime session seized a 3-2 win for the Norfolk Admirals over the St. Johnís IceCaps Tuesday night at Norfolk Scope Arena. The victory sends the Eastern Conference Semifinal back to St. Johnís for Game 6 Friday night.
Admiralsí goaltender Brad Thiessen (1-2) enjoyed a bounce-back performance saving 36 of 38 shots while the IceCapsí Michael Hutchinson (6-3) stopped 34 shots out of the 37 total he faced.
Last nightís rout started off much like tonightís game with an IceCap strike in the opening half of the first period. Will OíNeill sent St. Johnís into transition with a pass from deep in his own end to Kyle MacKinnon in neutral ice along the boards. MacKinnon maneuvered into the Admiralsí zone and eased a pass to the right wing in front of Eric OíDell. The Ottawa nativeís wrister flew past Thiessenís glove for a 1-0 lead six minutes and 23 seconds into the game.
Unlike last night, the Admirals didnít take long to respond. Max Fribergís slap shot from the right wing on the rush popped off Hutchinsonís chest and up and over his head. The end-over-end puck landed softly behind the IceCap netminder and trickled across the goal line at 18:11 of the first. An unorthodox goal knotted the count at 1-1 heading into the first intermission.
The third period began with the same 1-1 score that finished the first period but Norfolk rookie defenseman Shea Theodore altered it on a backhand a mere 48 seconds into the final frame. On the deck behind the St. Johnís net, Dave Steckel nudged a loose puck to Chris Wagner who continued it along the boards to Theodore.
The 18 year-old drove through the left circle, switching from forehand to backhand before ricocheting a shot off Hutchinson that skipped into the net for a 2-1 Admirals lead. Theodoreís first professional goal lifted Norfolk into the lead, but not for good.
St. Johnís applied heavy pressure into the Admiralsí zone as the period wore on and eventually found an answer as the clock ticked under three minutes to go. Kael Mouillierat threw a puck behind him from the corner towards the crease and OíDell was there to redirect the airborne puck over Thiessenís left arm. Norfolk held off the IceCaps for more than 16 minutes before OíDellís second goal of the evening and fourth in two games tied it at 2-2 with 2:58 to remaining.
The clubs traded chances on each otherís net to no avail in the little time that was left sending it to overtime.
After 13 minutes and 10 seconds of extra hockey, Andre Petersson wound and fired from the point. Stefan Noesen blocked Hutchinsonís view in front as the shot raced into the left side of the IceCap net. Peterssonís second goal in two games clinched the Game 5 win and extended the conference semifinal to Game 6 in St. Johnís.
Norfolk snaps a three-game skid to stay alive in the playoffs. They travel north to Newfoundland in Canada for Game 6 on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
1. Andre Petersson - NOR
2. Shea Theodore - NOR
3. Eric OíDell - STJ