ESTERO, FL – Dylan Clarke’s goal with 2:18 remaining in regulation helped lift the Evansville IceMen to a 5-3 victory over the Florida Everblades Saturday night Germain Arena.
The IceMen got off to a hot start in the first. Jason Dale opened up the scoring at 3:02 with a shorthanded breakaway goal to give his team the early 1-0 lead.
Halfway through the first Anton Blomqvist crossed the blue line and unleashed a slapshot which clipped past ‘Blades goaltender Rob Madore and into the top left corner of the net to extend the IceMen lead to 2-0.
Moments later, the Everblades responded, when Cody Crichton picked the loose puck at the top of crease and shoved it past Evansville netminder Paul Dainton for the goal to put the score at 2-1 at the end of the first period. The goal was the first of the career for Crichton.
Florida’s Mike Merrifield tied the game at two early in the second. Merrifield flipped a shot on goal that bounced off the pad of Dainton. Merrifield picked up his own rebound in the slot and hurled the puck past Dainton on the second chance for the goal.
The IceMen assumed the lead back 3-2 on the power play when Kevin Baker delivered a cross-crease pass to Stefan Della-Rovere who buried the puck behind Madore on the backside. Evansville took the one goal advantage into the second intermission.
The Everblades battled back to tie it once again in the third. Newcomer Josh Geary, who was singed to an amateur tryout contract earlier in the day, tied the game at three. Maury Edwards fired a shot from the point which was tipped in front by Geary. The puck changed its course low beat Dainton five-hole for the goal. Geary registered his first goal in his first professional game, and also added an assist on the night.
Despite the rally, Evansville got the last laugh late in the third as a defensive mishap by the ‘Blades resulted in a goal. Florida coughed up the puck behind its own net and Todd Robinson flipped a pass in front. The ‘Blades failed to pick up Dylan Clark, and Clark steered the puck on a shot into the net for the go-ahead goal 4-3.
Clark’s goal held up as the game winner, as Robinson added an empty net tally with five seconds left to secure the win.
Dainton earns the win stopping 34 of 7 shots in the game, while Madore takes the loss allowing four goals on 27 shots faced.
GAME NOTES: Mathieu Roy had his point scoring streak snapped at 13 games. Roy posted 22 points during that stretch which began back on January 27. Matthew Pistilli also had a 10-game point scoring streak snapped as well in the game. Brent Henley recorded his first point as an Everblade with an assist in the game. On Friday, Henley reached the 2000 penalty minute mark in his career with a minor penalty in his ‘Blades debut.
NEXT GAME: Florida plays host to the Reading Royals on Wednesday (Feb. 27). Fans can enjoy $2 draft, $2 wines, and $2 hot dogs all night long.
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
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