ESTERO, Fla - Mike Ratchuk scored twice, including the game winner just 1:02 into overtime to give the Florida Everblades a 4-3 win over the South Carolina Stingrays at Germain Arena on Sunday evening.
With three minutes remaining in the first period, Mathieu Roy got a hold of the puck at the left wing circle. Roy centered a pass to Alex Hutchings at the top of the crease. Hutchings batted the puck past Stingrays goaltender Jeff Jakaitis. Hutching’s goal gave the ‘Blades a 1-0 lead over the Stingrays after the first period.
The game picked up in the second period, as the Stingrays fought to answer the ‘Blades lone goal of the game. Despite their efforts, Florida managed to score the second goal of the game and extend its lead. Brandon MacLean won a battle along the boards and delivered a pass to Mike Ratchuk in the slot. Ratchuk wristed the puck past Jakaitis to extend the ‘Blades lead to 2-0. .
South Carolina finally got on the board with only nine seconds remaining in the second period. Former Everblade Ryan McGinnis fired a slapshot from the top of the circle, which was tipped in front by Chris Langkow. Langkow redirected the puck past Everblades goaltender Jesse Deckert to put the score at 2-1 after two periods.
The ‘Blades lost their lead early in the third period, as Scooter Vaughan took a shot from the top of the slot which beat Deckert high on the glove side to tie the game at two.
Nearly ten minutes later, Everblades Forward Matthew Pistilli passed the puck from the corner to a waiting Roy at the backside of the crease. Roy snuck the puck behind Jakaitis for the go-ahead goal.
The ‘Blades wouldn’t hold onto their 3-2 lead very long, as McGinnis accepted a pass from Jay Silvia and took a shot from high up at the point. The puck flew over Deckert’s right shoulder for the goal with exactly four minutes remaining, and brought the teams back to a 3-3 tie to send the game to overtime.
After only one minute of play into the extra session, Daniel Koger dropped the puck to Hutchings, who then left the puck for Ratchuk at the point. Ratchuk immediately stepped into a slapshot which rifled past Jakaitis for the game winning goal to give the Everblades the 4-3 victory. .
Jesse Deckert earns the win stopping 19 out of 22 shots, while Jeff Jakaitis suffers the loss by allowing four goals on 25 shots.
Up next, the Everblades play host to the Cincinnati Cyclone on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start time, while Saturday’s game begins at 7:00 p.m.
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. Playoff ticket packages, as well as 2003-14 Season Ticket packages are currently on sale! For more information on all available packages, call the Everblades office at 239-948-7825