ESTERO, FL – Evan Barlow scored twice including a goal at 9:45 into overtime to lead the Reading Royals to a 5-4 win over the Florida Everblades in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Germain Arena Saturday night. Reading now leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.
Reading took the early advantage just 2:17 into the game. A turnover in front of the Everblades net was picked up by Barry Almeida who immediately fired a wrist shot past Florida goaltender Brady Hjelle for the goal.
The Royals added to their lead halfway though the period, on a goal by Ian O’Connor who scored for the second consecutive night. O’Connor’s goal gave his team a 2-0 lead, and capped off a period controlled by Reading.
The Everblades received their spark nearly six minutes into the second period. Leigh Salters led a 2-on-1 rush into the zone, and stretched a pass across the slot to the right wing circle to Adam Brace who one-timed the puck high past Reading netminder Riley Gill to pull Florida within one.
Florida evened the scored at two with three minutes remaining in the second, on a rebound chance in front for Corey Trivino. Trivino rolled a shot into the net from the top of the crease to tie game at two after 40 minutes played.
The Everblades took their first lead of the game eight minutes into the third. A shot from the point hit off the back glass and landed in the crease next to Gill. Trivino slid the puck into the net for his second tally of the contest.
Five minutes later, Adam Brace extended the Everblades lead on a great individual effort. Brace skated in the zone on the wing, and muscled his way around defenseman Bryant Molle and lifted a shot over the glove of Gill to give Florida the 4-2 advantage.
The Royals received a 4-on-3 power play opportunity with five minutes remaining and pulled the goaltender to allow for the extra attacker to present a 5-on-3 chance. The gamble paid off as Evan Barlow squeezed a shot on the shortside post past Hjelle to pull Reading within one.
Moments later Reading received another power play chance, and Nikita Kashirsky tapped the puck into the net on a center feed a the top of the crease to tie the game at four with 1:47 remaining to force overtime for the second consecutive game in the series.
Halfway though the extra session, the puck was loose in front of the Everblades net causing a wild scramble in front. Barlow tapped the puck into the net for the game winning goal to seal the 5-4 win.
Brady Hjelle takes the loss in his first professional start, allowing five goals on 29 shots. Gill earns the will allowing four goals on 24 shots faced.
The two teams meet again on Tuesday for Game 6 at the SovereignCenter in Reading, PA. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 96 K-Rock (96.1 FM), or online at www.floridaeverblades.com
The following is a complete schedule of the best-of-seven series:
(1) Reading Royals v (4) Florida Everblades (Reading Leads Series 3-2)Game 1: Friday, April 19: Florida – 4 at Reading – 3Game 2: Saturday, April 20: Florida – w at Reading – 3Game 3: Wednesday, April 24: Reading – 1 at Florida – 4Game 4: Friday, April 26 : Reading – 3 at Florida – 2 (OT)Game 5 Saturday, April 27: Reading – 5 at Florida – 4 (OT)Game 6: Tuesday, April 30 (7:05 pm) at ReadingGame 7: Wednesday, May 1 (7:05 pm) at Reading (If Necessary)
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 atwww.ticketmaster.com
Season ticket packages for the 2013-14 season are currently on sale. Call 239-948-7825 to speak to a sales representative about package options
The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes & Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL, and the Charlotte Checkers & Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.