Estero, FL – Erasing deficits of one and two goals at home, the Florida Everblades managed to rally past the Greenville Road Warriors and wrest away a 5-4 win in the shootout Friday at Germain Arena, snapping a season-high four-game losing streak.
Trailing 3-1 over halfway through the second, Olivier Dame-Malka sparked a surge late on a power play in the middle frame when the Montreal, Quebec, native seared a low slap shot past the glove of Greenville netminder Jason Missiaen the pulled the Blades within one at 3-2 with 2:54 on the clock.
Just 59 seconds later, Rocco Carzo tied the game at three when the UMass product took a drop pass from newcomer Sean Dolan on a 2-on-2 and lifted a backhander past Missiaen’s blocker.
That tie would only last 50 seconds, however; the Road Warriors pulled back ahead when a failed defensive-zone clear by the Everblades turned into a 2-on-0 opportunity that Jordie Johnston cashed in off a back-door pass from Marc-Olivier Vallerand as Greenville seized a 4-3 lead heading into the second intermission.
Neither defense gave an inch in a tightly contested third period, but the Blades were able to break through with just 30 seconds left in regulation as Brandon MacLean served up a centering feed for Mike Merrifield that the Michigan State alum tapped in to knot the game at four, forcing overtime.
Though Florida dominated the extra frame, outshooting Greenville 6-0 in bonus hockey, Missiaen held firm for the Warriors, sending the contest to a decisive shootout.
Blades goalie Trevor Cann seized the spotlight in that shootout, shutting down Johnston, Vallerand, Michael St. Croix and Andrew Rowe—Greenville’s top four scorers—along with Josh Nicholls while Trevor Bruess struck in the fifth-and-final round to deliver Florida the come-from-behind win by a final of 5-4.
It was the Everblades who opened the scoring, as well, as red-hot blueliner Joe Stejskal ripped a low shot through traffic that beat Missiaen through the five-hole to grab a 1-0 advantage 5:51 into the game.
Greenville evened the score at one with 1:44 to go in the first as Johnston notched his first of the night by pinballing a shot off Cann and in from a bad angle.
In the second, Greenville continued their onslaught, getting strikes from Vallerand and Scott Arnold in a four-and-a-half minute window to push ahead to a 3-1 lead, setting the stage for the frantic finish.
Cann made 26 saves, plus five in the shootout, to pick up the win in his first start since shutting out South Carolina on January 11. Missiaen turned in 39 stops but could not avoid his first shootout loss of the season.
The two sides will reconvene Saturday at 7:00pm for the final contest of their three-game series at Germain Arena.
Tickets are now on sale at the Capital Bank Box Office, open Monday through Friday, 10:00am until 6:00pm.
Saturday’s rubber match 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 6:45pm.
Beat the Box Office!
Don’t want to pay the box office rate for Everblades tickets? You don’t have to! Save up to $7.00 per ticket with great 10 and 20-game flex plans and group rates for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign. Lock in your flex plan or group seats now for the Blades’ next home game on January 31.
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.