ESTERO, Fla. – Goaltender Mark Guggenberger made 34 saves to help lead the Gwinnett Gladiators to a 3-2 victory over the Florida Everblades Friday night at Germain Arena.
Halfway through the opening frame, Joey Haddad cruised into the zone and skated to a close shooting range at the right of the slot and wristed a shot past Florida netminder Mac Carruth to give the Gladiators a 1-0 lead.
Nearly five minutes later, the ‘Blades countered after an offensive zone faceoff win in the offensive zone my Philip-Michael Devos. Devos steered the puck to Mike Merrifield who fired a shot with traffic in front that beat Gwinnett goaltender Mark Guggenberger to knot the game at one.
Less than a minute later, Gwinnett reclaimed the lead on a goal by Dirk Southern. Southern took advantage of a defensive miscommunication in front and wristed a shot from the slot that beat Carruth for the goal to put the Gladiators back on top.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the second, but Gwinnett grabbed the next goal at 13:41 of the third on the power play. Casey Pierro-Zabotel picked up the puck from behind the net and delivered a pass to the left wing circle to Rob Kwiet. Kwiet fired a wrist shot high past a sliding Carruth for the marker.
Just 44 seconds later, the ‘Blades got back on the board on a goal by Danick Gauthier. Gauthier too a feed from Mathieu Roy and snapped a shot from the slot over the shoulder of Guggenberger for the goal to pull Florida within one.
The goal appeared to have sparked the ‘Blades who continued to pepper the net with scoring chances. However, Guggenberger was too good on this night, and was able to turn aside the remaining shots to secure the 3-2 Gwinnett win.
Guggenberger earns the win stopping 34 of 36 shots faced, while Carruth takes the loss allowing two goals on 22 shots in a solid showing Friday.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. as Pink in the Rink weekend continues. Pink in the Rink is presented by Radiology Regional Center! Come out show your support in the fight against Breast Cancer. The team will be wearing special pink jerseys, which will be auctioned off following tomorrow’s game, with proceeds benefiting cancer related charities.
The McDonald’s tailgate party begins at 5:00 p.m. featuring live music and bounce houses for the kids.
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.
GAME NOTES: Mac Carruth made his Everblades debut on Friday. The goaltender was reassigned by the Chicago Blackhawks from the Rockford IceHogs (AHL) prior to the game….With the win Gwinnett takes the season series against Florida 6-3.
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes and TampaBay Lightning.