EVANSVILLE, IN – Kyle Bonis scored twice, while Mike Little posted three points (1g, 2a) to help lift the Florida Everblades to a 6-3 victory over the Evansville IceMen at the Ford Center Sunday evening.
Florida stormed out of the gates in the first period, posting 18 shots on net. The ‘Blades converted on one of those shots while on the power play after Evansville’s Peter Sakaris was called for a five-minute major for boarding.
On that ensuing power play, Mike Little fired a shot from the point that was stopped by goaltender Mike Clemente. The rebound bounced to the right wing side, and Kyle Bonis picked up the puck and flipped a backhand shot high into the net for the goal. Florida took the 1-0 lead into the first break.
Evansville evened the game at 13:51 on a power play goal by Loren Barron who crept up from the point and beat Florida netminder Trevor Cann with the shot on the backside of the net.
The Everblades quickly countered, and registered three goals in a span of 2:01 to build a sizeable lead.
The first of those goals came at 15:52, when Mike Little wristed a shot from the right side ring that cleanly beat Clemente for the second power play tally for Florida in the game.
Moments later, Brandon MacLean led a 2-on-1 rush into the zone on the right wing side, and sent a pass across the ice to Mathieu Roy on the left side. Roy finished off the play beating Clemente on the shortside to extend the Florida lead to 3-1.
Just 52 seconds later, the ‘Blades capped off the scoring barrage with a goal by Evan Bloodoff. Bloodoff picked up the puck off an Evansville turnover, and skated right into the slot uncontested. Bloodoff then wristed a shot high over Clemente’s shoulder for the ‘Blades fourth goal. Florida took the three-goal advantage into the second intermission
Down but not out, the IceMen seized control of the first half of the third period. In the opening moments of the final stanza, Nathan Moon scored two goals in a 2:06 span to pull the IceMen within one 4-3.
However, the Everblades reclaimed the momentum at 12:49 of the period, when Bonis threw a no-look backhanded pass to the top of the crease from just to the right of the net. The pass hit off a skate, and then a stick, before finding its way through the five-hole of Clemente and into the net for the marker. The fortunate bounce lifted Florida to a 5-3 lead. The goal was the second of the game for Bonis, and his team leading 21st of the season.
Less than minute later, the ‘Blades put the game out of reach when Brandon MacLean led another 2-on-1 rush into the zone. This time MacLean delivered a pass across to A.J. Jenks who snapped a shot on the shortside of Clemente to propel the score to 6-3.
Florida received another good outing in goal by Trevor Cann who made 30 saves en route to his 14th win of the season. Clemente suffers the loss allowing six goals on 40 shots faced.
With the win, the Everblades (67 pts) keep pace with both Fort Wayne (67 pts) and Wheeling (70 pts) in the Eastern Conference standings. Both Fort Wayne and Wheeling won their respective games on Sunday. The Everblades did separate themselves by two points over Evansville (65pts).
GAME NOTES: The game marked the first meeting of the season between the two teams this season, also marked Florida’s first ever game played at the Ford Center in Evansville.
The two teams will meet again at the Ford Center on Tuesday beginning at 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time. The game 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.
The ‘Blades return home on Wednesday, March 26 against Evansville. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs, $2 Bud Light drafts, and $2 Barefoot Wines for the game.,
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.