Offensive Flurry Propels ‘Blades Past Gladiators 7-4
March 14, 2017
Written by Robert Molnar
DULUTH, GA – Brendan O’Donnell and Mitchell Heard each scored two goals and added an assist to help lead the Florida Everblades (40-15-2-3, 85 pts) to a 7-4 victory over the rival Atlanta Gladiators (23-28-6-2, 54 pts) Tuesday night at the Infinite Energy Arena. The win extends the ‘Blades lead in the South Division to ten points. Florida closes the four-game road trip with a 2-2-0 mark.
Getting on the board less than four minutes into the contest, the Everblades took advantage of an offensive zone faceoff to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Aft er a faceoff win, the ‘Blades, Mitchell Heard sent the puck right over to Brendan O’Donnell. Setup in the slot, O’Donnell spun around and backhanded his shot right past the leg pad of Atlanta goaltender Matt Ginn.
Atlanta took advantage of a turnover inside the Florida zone midway through the first period and tied the game up at 1-1. Battling down in the corner, Florida sent the puck across towards the middle of the ice. A.J. White picked up the loose puck and fired a shot that was initially stopped by Florida goaltender Anthony Peters. However, Mark Naclerio picked up the rebound and chipped his shot right behind Peters for the goal.
Less than two minutes after Naclerio’s goal, Florida would bounce back and re-take the lead on a great effort from Logan Roe inside the attacking zone. After skating the puck into the zone, Logan Roe showed some patience with his shot. With Ginn screened behind his own defenseman, Roe flipped his shot over the goaltenders glove and into the net.
The‘Blades extended their lead to 3-1 on a great solo effort from Brendan O’Donnell. O’Donnell muscled his way through some Gladiator defensemen on his way towards the net and a snapped his shot through the five-hole of Matt Ginn and into the back of the net.
The Everblades extended their lead to 4-1 less than two minutes into the middle frame. Working the puck behind the Atlanta net, Brendan O’Donnell got the puck to Michael Kirkpatrick. Following a nice spin move to bring the play back to the right wing side, Kirkpatrick sent the puck towards the front of the net. With Ginn having no idea where the puck was, Mitchell Heard buried his chance for a goal.
Late in the second, Atlanta scored right at the end of their power play chance, making it a 4-2 score heading into the intermission. A scramble ensued out in front of the goal to try and collect the loose puck, Tyler Murovich gained possession and quickly shoveled it over the sprawled out body of Anthony Peters.
The Everblades responded and stunted any momentum the Gladiators may have had as Steven MacAulay scored in his fourth straight game to put Florida up 5-2. Working a give-and-go with Dalton Smith in the neutral zone, MacAulay was sprung on a breakaway attempt. Roofing his wrist shot, MacAulay blasted the puck high into the top corner of the net.
Still refusing to go away, the Gladiators continued to try and mount a comeback attempt, by converting on their second power play of the game. Atlanta’s Derek Nesbitt led a pure team effort inside the Florida zone to cut the ‘Blades lead to just two. Josh Atkinson setup Derek Nesbitt for a one-time chance. Ripping a hard shot, Nesbitt sent the puck right between Anthony Peters and the post.
Later in the third, John McCarron was in the right place at the right time as he scored the sixth goal of the game for the Everblades. Matt Berry skated from circle to circle and chipped the puck towards goal. Bouncing off of McCarron’s stick, the puck curled right between the standing legs of Matt Ginn and into the net.
Adding a seventh goal less than 40-seconds later, Mitchell Heard netted his second tally of the game, giving Florida a commanding lead midway through the final frame. From the right wing side, Heard used some pin point accuracy as he snapped a shot top shelf past the glove of Matt Ginn.
Atlanta did add a fourth tally with less than six minutes remaining in the game, but still came up short in their attempt to come from behind in the third period. With the clock hitting all zeros, the ‘Blades took a hard earned 7-4 victory in the final game of their current South Division road trip.
Anthony Peters played extremely well in goal for the Everblades, earning the win after stopping 40 of the 44 shots he faced. Matt Ginn made some solid saves but had an overall tough night in goal for the Gladiators, suffering the loss after allowing seven goals on 36 shots.
The ‘Blades return home on Friday night, the Florida Everblades kickoff Guns and Hoses Weekend with the first in a pair of games against the Wawa Sunshine Cup rival Orlando Solar Bears. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. Fans can purchase tickets at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, at any Ticketmaster outlet, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Fans can also catch the game broadcast on WJBX News, Talk & More on 101.5-FM.104.3-FM, 770-AM or by CLICKING HERE
Upcoming Home Games & Promotions
Friday, March 17 vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m. – 90’s Night! We are throwing it back to the 1990’s, and fans are welcome to dress up in their 90’s attire or as their favorite 90’s character. The first 500 fans will receive thunder sticks courtesy of Chuck-E-Cheese!
Saturday, March 18 vs. Orlando, 7:00 p.m. – Guns N Hoses night! Join us at 4:30 p.m. as our local fire fighters and police will battle it out on the ice! The Everblades will wear special police and fire fighter themed jerseys (pictured below) which will be auctioned off following the game to benefit the 4 The Kids Foundation. A ticket to the Everblades game will get you in to the police and fire fighters game for free!
www.ticketmaster.comSpecial Offer! Purchase any new ticket package for the 2016-17 season, and receive an Everblades jersey t-shirt and a $20 gift card from Ford’s Garage! Locations include Cape Coral, Downtown Fort Myers and Miromar Outlets in Estero. We offer several tickets packages designed to help fit your budget and schedule.
Discounted Group Tickets: Bring your group of 10 or more to a game at a discounted price, and you may also receive an Everblades souvenir! Group tickets are available for all home games. For more information on group tickets, call 239-948-7825.
of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes