The St. John's IceCaps needed to bounce back after dropping game one of the Calder Cup finals to the Texas Stars. After tonight's showing it is hard to say whether or not they did, but they definitely nabbed a win.
For the fourth time in four playoff series, the IceCaps have split the first two games. For the first time in this playoff run, they are returning home after the split. They head home coming off a win despite being outshot 50 to 35.
- Michael Hutchinson was incredible tonight. Truly incredible. He made a large number of highlight reel saves and many of them could easily be labeled "game savers."
- Apart from Hutchinson, Eric O`Dell and his line had notably strong showings. The whole team got a little scrambly at the end, but the O'Dell line was anchoring the team through the first 40 minutes.
- Speaking of O`Dell's line. Carl Klingberg played well. He led the IceCaps in shots on goal and he is really using his tools well. A year ago his career hit a bit of a crossroads. He had to give up on trying to become a scorer and simplify his game. He did that tonight and has been for a while. He is unlikely to become a scorer at the next level, but he could be a quality depth player. Just play the game and let the offense come.
- Michael Hutchinson stopped 20 of 20 shots against in the third period. That is damn near a full game's workload.
- Josh Morriessey showed off some more slick skating and offensive instincts on the powerplay. Given how quickly he has caught up the the AHL game, it isn't a stretch to think he could do the same in the NHL soon. Is his defensive game where it needs to be? Is he ready physically? Not sure, but the hockey brain is ready and waiting.
- I wrote - way back in February - that Michael Hutchinson was very much a live prospect. Everything said then remains true, but the odds are stacking greater in his favor. If you would like to learn a little more about Hutch and how he became a Jet, you can read that article here.
- Shout out to Blair Riley on the game winner, he is Arby's favorite player.
- Even before tonight's game Hutch was apparently the king of the bounce back. This article (read it) says:
Coming into the finals, the IceCaps had lost just five total playoff games, and after each, Hutchinson has responded with sterling performances, posting a goals against average of 0.80 and save percentage of .974 in the subsequent victories, including two shutouts.
- Hutch posted a save percentage of .980 and a 1.00 GAA tonight. Once again, wow!
- I know most of these posts have been about Michael Hutchinson, but he truly was the story tonight. That game was a load of fun to watch and far more entertaining than the first phase of the LA Stanley Cup parade.