The St. John’s IceCaps used a late goal Friday night to top the Albany Devils 2-1 and to take the first game in the best-of-three series.
Both the IceCaps and Devils failed to make the post-season last year, but thanks to turnaround seasons, both teams found themselves sitting comfortably in a playoff position this year come April.
Eric O’Dell – who had been one of the brightest spots on the IceCaps roster this season – got things started in the first period, as he tallied his first of the post-season for a 1-0 lead.
The third period appeared as though it would solve nothing, as both teams went back and forth with not much luck on either side, however with just 34 seconds remaining in the game, that would change as IceCaps' defencemen Ben Chiarot would play hero, beating Devils' goaltender Keith Kinkaid for the victory.
Hutchinson would make 25 saves in his post-season debut for the IceCaps win, meanwhile Kinkaid made 30 stops in a losing effort.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series goes Saturday night from Albany before the series switches back to St. John’s for Game 3 on Wednesday.