Reading, PA – The Florida Everblades made their only visit to Santander Arena count Friday, rallying for three straight goals to upend the Reading Royals 4-1 in a rematch of the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Matthew Pistilli opened the scoring for the Blades, collecting a Braden Birch rebound on the power play and looping home a backhander before Royals netminder Riley Gill could recover, boosting Florida to a 1-0 lead 7:19 into the contest.
Reading would eventually draw even with 8:33 left in the second as a Marvin Degon shot rattled the post of Trevor Cann’s net, but before the Blades’ goalie could recover Royals forward Dustin Gazley reached out and poked the puck past him for a 1-1 tie.
That deadlock would last all of 66 seconds as pressure in the Reading zone led to a low 60-foot shot by Everblades blueliner Olivier Dame-Malka that squeaked through Gill’s five-hole to give the visitors the lead right back at 2-1.
A mere 1:28 later, Birch doubled the lead to 3-1, firing a low slap shot around a screen in front that pinballed off the far post and in for the rookie’s first professional goal.
Cann took control of the game in the third for the Blades, turning away all 15 shots he saw.
With Gill pulled for the extra attacker late, Kyle Bonis gave the game its final margin with 1:40 remaining, lofting a slow-rolling backhander from neutral ice into an empty net for his 12th score of the year.
All told, Cann made 38 stops on 39 shots to snare his third consecutive win in net. Gill took the loss despite 39 saves of his own.
The Blades now head southwest for a pair of games against the Atlantic-leading Wheeling Nailers, starting Saturday with a 7:00pm tilt at WesBanco Arena.
Saturday’s interdivision dustup will be broadcast live online at FloridaEverblades.com and on the Everblades’ app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, with a video webcast available through America ONE, the official broadband and mobile broadcaster of the ECHL, at www.americaonesports.com. Pregame coverage will get under way at 6:50pm.
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For more information call 239-948-7825, or stop by the Everblades main office located at Germain Arena.
Office hours are Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.