John Gibson continued to steal the show on Wednesday after a stellar performance at Scope.
Going into this series, the Admirals were going to be offensively challenged. They got another big blow before their pivotal game 3 at home when William Karlsson was reassigned to Team Sweden. In order to even get close, John Gibson would have to continue to play at a ridiculous caliber. Then, the Ads would need to find someone-anyone-to find the net.
Wednesday night’s game was the perfect recipe for both of those, with a little bit of luck added in. The first period was largely dominated by the Manchester Monarchs. They made the most of their zone time, and challenged Gibson at every turn they got. Norfolk wasn’t as useful in the o-zone, often trying for a one-and-done chance and not following up on a rebound. Manchester would appear to score in the first. It turned out in the Admirals’ favor as it was waved off due to goaltender interference. Play went on.
As bad as the first period would be, the second would be incredibly titled in the Monarch’s favor. Norfolk would only register 1 (one) official shot on goal, with Manchester racking up 15 shots at John Gibson. Late in the the period, the Ads would have a chance to generate some offense on a power play. Unfortunately, they failed to convert and actually had the advantage cut short on a Max Friberg slashing penalty. Gibson would carry the home team unscathed to the third frame.
In a reversal of the second, the Ads managed to generate most of the shots, with 14 to Manchester’s 4. The team sustained zone pressure at times and had several decent chances. Despite a late scare due to a Jesse Blacker penalty, neither team would score. Both Gibson and JF Berube kept the game scoreless and sent it to overtime.
Norfolk, to their credit, came out attacking and trying to get a puck through. It felt like every shot was going to go in, even if it went wide or got gloved. Manchester would battle back, firing at John Gibson. The talented prospect stopped everything that went his way. A break came with 5:09 left in the game. Matt Bailey would find Max Sauve, who would backhand a shot home. It was the only goal of the game, it was the only one that was required.
Enough can’t be said about how important John Gibson was in this game (and series and season). He continued to make the difficult saves, bail out his team when they were hemmed in the zone, and generally play well. Without Gibson, what are the chances this game goes the other way?
Gibson hasn’t allowed a goal since the first period Saturday. That’s about 117 minutes, or almost two complete games. Norfolk now leads 2-1 with a chance to advance on Friday.
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