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Andrew Gordon scores hat trick as IceCaps beat Devils 4-1 to clinch series

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - When the St. John's IceCaps picked up Andrew Gordon as a free agent in the off-season it was for a game like this one.

Gordon, a past Calder Cup champion, scored a hat trick to lead the IceCaps to a series-clinching 4-1 win over the Albany Devils in Friday night and a 3-1 victory in the best-of-five American Hockey League series.

"We wanted to take our chance, take our opportunity, to put this team away," Gordon said.

"To be the recipient of all these goal chances and to have them go in is lucky for me. I don't necessarily dream about scoring the big goal or stepping up and having a hat trick in the first round, I'd rather do it in the finals."

When he notched the third goal, Gordon said it brought a sense of relief because the IceCaps were hoping to bury the series Friday.

"It was some relief and a little bit of a cushion," he said. "I was fortunate to be the one to do it, but I would have been just as relieved if anyone else scored it. We wanted to put this series away."

Gordon's resume speaks for itself, and he proved it in the eyes of IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge.

"It's obvious by the way he played, and not only the numbers he put up but by the way he played with such energy and leadership, he has championship pedigree. That really came through tonight," said McCambridge.

McCambridge also applauded goalie Michael Hutchinson's 39-save night, calling his performance "outstanding" in the win.

"The one goal that they were able to get tonight, (Hutchinson) lost his stick (and) we were unable to get the puck out," said McCambridge. "He gave us the goaltending that you need to have success at this time of year."

John Albert also scored for the IceCaps.

Jon Merrill replied for the Devils, while Keith Kinkaid made 29 saves.

Gordon opened the scoring for the IceCaps 3:47 into the game. He tapped home a loose puck in a crease-scramble after Jason Jaffray tried to score from the side of the net and pushed the puck into the crease following Kinkaid's initial pad save.

Gordon scored his second of the night at the 7:52 mark of the second period, scoring a high wrister blocker wide from the top of the right faceoff circle while shorthanded.

The Devils closed the gap to one when Merrill blasted a slapshot from the point through traffic less than two minutes later.

Gordon completed the hat trick on the power play late in the second with some great hand-eye co-ordination after batting the puck into the net off of a rebound on a Josh Morrissey shot to make it 3-1.

Albert put the nail in the coffin when he picked up his own rebound driving to the net and scored a tap-in while falling, on the backhand, with 2:10 left in the second.

The IceCaps now await the results of the other Eastern Conference series to find out their next opponent.

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