ESTERO, Fla- Alex Hutchings netted his second career hat-trick to lead the Florida Everblades to a 5-3 victory over the Elmira Jackals Friday night at Germain Arena.
Elmira would be the first team to strike in a defensive first period courtesy of Darren Kramer. Kramer intercepted a pass in Florida’s defensive zone and took the puck into the slot where he fired off a wrist shot that got past John Muse to give the Jackals a 1-0 lead which would hold for the remainder of the period.
Halfway through the second period, Elmira padded their lead with a second goal from Matt Campanale. Louie Caprusso dropped a pass back to Campanale at the blue line who fired a quick slap shot would sail pasty the glove of Muse to give Elmira a two goal lead.
Florida got on the board at the 12-minute mark of the second period after a goal by forward Alex Hutchings. Taylor Ellington sent a pass behind the net to Hutchings who took the wrap-around shot, and forced the puck between the pads of Elmira goaltender Marc Cheverie.
Hutching’s number was called again at 18:22 of the period. David Rutherford took a shot from the slot which was stopped by Hutching. Hutchings picked up the rebound and flipped a backhand shot which would once again get under Cheverie to tie the game at two afer 40 minutes played.
Nearly six minutes into the third, the Everblades took the lead on the power play. Tommi Kivisto picked up a rebound from a Justin Shugg shot and quickly wristed the puck into the back of the net to give the Everblades their first lead of the night 3-2.
Florida scored their fourth unanswered goal coming from Trevor Bruess. Mathieu Roy sent a pass through the neutral zone to Bruess, who took the puck into the right side circle and fired a wrist shot through the defense and past Cheverie to increase the Blades lead to 4-2.
Elmira pulled within one with five minutes remaining in the game. A shot from Jack Downing bounced out of the glove of Muse and sat in front of the net. A pileup occurred at the crease, but the puck would sneak over the goal line to make the score 4-3.
Florida got the insurance goal it needed along with Alex Hutchings earning his second career hat-trick. Hutchings took advantage of a breakaway opportunity and was able to deke to the backhand in front of the net and send the puck past Cheverie for the goal to seal the 5-3 victory.
Hutchings netted his first career hat trick almost one year ago today. He posted his first hat-trick back November 11, 2011 in a 7-2 win over the Wheeling Nailers.
Florida net minder John Muse earns the win stopping 34 of 37 shots faced, while Elmira’s Marc Cheverie suffers the loss allowing five goals on 27 shots.
The Everblades will play host to the Gwinnett Gladiators on Saturday beginning at 7:00 p.m. Saturday’s game is Swampee’s birthday, as he and his mascot friends will be here at Germain Arena. The ‘Blades will once again wear red, white, and blue jerseys to honor our military. The jerseys will be auctioned off for charity following the game. The McDonald’s tailgate party starts at 5:00 p.m. featuring live music and bounces houses for the kids. Come join the family fun!
The Capital Bank Box Office is open Monday thru Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Fans may also call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, or order online atwww.ticketmaster.com
Season ticket packages are currently available, for the remaining 28 home games. Partial-season packages start as low as $150, and offer a flexible option for fans. For more information on all available packages, call the Everblades office at 239-948-7825, or purchase tickets online.