Norfolk, slacker losers of one of their last 32 combined games, somehow managed to eke out tonight’s game in overtime, so the league’s top team advances to face the Connecticut Whale. And if necessary, Game 5, May 9, will be in Bridgeport. (This Saturday would’ve been a different kind of Game 5 in Bridgeport, except for that minor glitch last weekend.)
The Whale release says ticket information will be released soon.
That matchup was set as soon as Alex Killorn scored in overtime, because St. John’s advanced earlier. Derek Meech scored 5:01 into overtime, and St. John’s moved on despite having trailed 2-0 after one and 3-2 after two. Hershey forced a Game 5 tomorrow at Wilkes-Barre.
(So Bridgeport would’ve played St. John’s had it advanced. Heave-ho instead of “Heave Away.”)
San Antonio earned its first playoff-series win in its 10 seasons, taking out Chicago in double overtime on Roman Derlyuk’s goal. The Rampage draws Oklahoma City in the second round.
Edit: So we can now update that end-of-playoffs note we’ve run the past few years, ’cause a few teams have forced changes…
The Sound Tigers last won a playoff series in 2003. Since then, 25 of the other 29 teams in the league have won one. Springfield, Lake Erie, Peoria and the new Albany are the four others who have not won a playoff series since 2003, though obviously all but Springfield got a later start, and two won playoff series in the Sound Tigers era in earlier incarnations: Albany as the Lowell Lock Monsters in 2005, Peoria as the Worcester IceCats in 2004.
(The Lake Erie franchise has never won in the AHL but, as the Utah Grizzlies, last won in the IHL in 1997. Springfield won the preliminary round in 2003 — the second and decisive game was the night before Bridgeport-Manchester began; I remember stopping on the way up and writing a short — but anyway hasn’t won a full round since 1997.)
Aside from the Lock Monsters and IceCats, five other defunct/moved-on clubs have also won one since 2003: Iowa, Cincinnati, Manitoba, the Albany River Rats and, in a preliminary round, the Cleveland Barons.