DULUTH, GA – Brody Sutter’s goal at 12:57 of the third period lifted the Florida Everblades to a 3-2 victory over the Gwinnett Gladiators at the Arena at Gwinnett Center Friday night.
After both teams produced some quality scoring chances in the opening period, Florida struck first at 13:33 on a dazzling goal by Mathieu Roy.
Roy received the puck at the high slot and slid the puck between the legs of the Gwinnett defenseman in the slot. Roy swung around the defender and grabbed the puck once again. Falling to the ice, Roy managed to wrist a shot high into the net past Gwinnett goaltender Mike Lee to complete the highlight reel goal. Roy’s 14th of the season gave Florida the 1-0 lead after the first period.
It did not take the Gladiators long to net the equalizer, as they received a goal from John Awe just 40 seconds into the middle frame. After a faceoff win, Awe fielded the puck along the boards and flipped a shot on goal which was blocked in front by an Everblades defender. The rebound was picked up by Awe again at the left wing circle. Awe hurled a shot past the blocker of Everblades netminder Pat Nagle for the tying goal.
Halfway through the second period, Ryan McGinnis cashed in on a bank shot from the neutral zone. McGinnis attempted to dump the puck into the zone off of the glass. However, the puck took a fortuitous bounce off the glass and directed toward the Gwinnett net. Lee was planning to play the puck behind the net and abandoned the crease. The puck rolled sharply into the net, despite a diving effort by Lee to make the save to give Florida the 2-1 advantage.
Nearly two minutes later, Joey Haddad led a 2-on-1 rush into the zone. Haddad eyed the trailer on the wing, and then called his own number writing the puck past Nagle to tie the game at two after 40 minutes played.
Both teams slugged it out in the third, but both goaltenders came up big for their teams. At 12:57 of the period, Brody Sutter picked the pocket of a Gwinnett defenseman in the neutral zone and curled back to lead a 2-on-1 rush into the zone. Sutter fired a hard wrist shot which screamed past the blocker of Lee to give Florida its third lead of the game.
Pat Nagle continued to turn aside everything Gwinnett threw at him, and preserved the 3-2 win for the Everblades. Nagle wins his fourth straight making 36 saves in the contest. Lee takes the loss allowing three goals on 26 shots faced.
NOTES: Leigh Salters, Matthew Pistilli, and Tommi Kvistio all returned to the lineup, and were returned from Charlotte of the American Hockey League this past week….Brayden Irwin had his goal scoring streak snapped at five games. Both Irwin (7 games) and Salters (6) had their point scoring streaks end as well.
Florida will battle the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday. The puck will drop at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 96 K-Rock (96.1 FM), or online at www.floridaeverblades.com
Florida’s next home game is Saturday, January 26, 7:00 p.m. against the Greenville Road Warriors. Every Saturday game is Family Night. Receive 4-tickets, 4-hot dogs, 4-sodas for just $56! (Family packages must be purchased at Capital Bank Box Office).
Ticket Information: 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 at www.ticketmaster.com
Partial-season packages are still available, and start as low as $150 and offer a flexible option for fans. Group discounts are also available, and can save fans up $8 off per ticket from the normal box office price. For more information on all available packages, call the Everblades office at 239-948-7825.