The St. John's IceCaps scored a pair of rare power-play goals against red-hot goaltender John Gibson to register a 2-1 victory and draw even with the Norfolk Admirals in their American Hockey League playoff series Wednesday night.
The best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal is tied at a game apiece as the series shifts to Norfolk for Games 3, 4 and 5 Saturday, Monday and Tuesday at Scope.
The Admirals opened the series with a 3-1 win Tuesday night.
"It came down to special teams, and we missed a couple of assignments, and there was a turnover and they made us pay," Admirals coach Trent Yawney said.
"I thought for the most part we hung in there, and had our chances and their goalie made a couple of big saves."
The IceCaps came into the game 2 for 24 on the power play, but goals by rookie Josh Morrissey and Jason Jaffray with the man advantage improved that woeful percentage.
Following a scoreless first period, Morrissey scored his first professional goal at 2:48 of the second.
Just less than three minutes later, with the Admirals' Matt Bailey serving four minutes for high sticking, Norfolk defenseman Nolan Yonkman threw the puck up the middle where it got intercepted by Jaffray, who turned and fired, surprising Gibson.
Chris Wagner provided the impetus for a thrilling finish, drawing the Admirals to within one goal by scoring on a power play with 9:55 left in regulation.
Norfolk has struggled on the power play, too, entering Wednesday's game with one goal in 12 chances.
IceCaps goalie Michael Hutchinson stopped 32 pucks, and Gibson was busy again, facing 41 St. John's shots.
On Tuesday night, Gibson turned aside 42 shots - not that Yawney is buying into those shot totals.
"Whoever is counting the shots needs to get their eyes checked," he deadpanned. "That said, you always want to cut down the number of shots against. But I thought a lot of the shots came from the outside."
Through Norfolk's six games in the playoffs, Gibson has yet to let in more than two goals per game.
"He's definitely a good player," said Yawney of his goalie, the game's second star Wednesday night following a first-star performance Tuesday. "But I think our guys have done a great job blocking shots and keeping away second chances.
"That said, the times they have had good scoring chances, he's made some stellar saves. That's the way he's been the whole year. We've had to rely on our goaltending a lot, and he's been there when we needed him."
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