ESTERO, FL – Daniel Altshuller made 25 saves to earn his first career victory as the Florida Everblades defeated the South Carolina Stingrays 4-3 in front of an announced crowd of 5,885 at Germain Arena Friday night.
The Evebrlades (1-0-0-0, 2pts) took advantage of an early power play opportunity to take the early lead. Just two minutes into the game, South Carolina’s Joe Devin was assessed a five-minute major for elbowing which put the ‘Blades up on the power play. Kevin Lynch carried the puck to the crease and directed toward the goaline. Adam Brace finished the play off and stuffed the puck into the net for the games first goal.
The Everblades added to their lead at the 14L56 mark of the first. Austin Levi delivered a shot toward the net with traffic in front. Alex Lavoie served as a nice screen in front of Stingrays goaltender LeNeveu who never saw the puck until it clipped the back of the net. Levi’s first of the season gave Florida a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Stingrays fought back in the second as Lee Moffie fired a shot from up high that beat ‘Blades netminder Daniel Altshuller for the goal.
Just two minutes later, Andrew Rowe picked up an Everblades turnover in the slot, and immediately wrested a shot that cleanly beat Altshuler for the tying goal.
The Stingrays lead didn’t last long, as Florida reclaimed the lead at 12:36 of the middle frame. Matt Mangene delivered a long pass out of his own end to springboard Danick Gauthier for a breakaway chance. Gauthier cruised toward the net and flipped a wrist shot past the blocker of LeNeveu to put Florida ahead 3-2 after two periods played.
The ‘Blades added an insurance goal just 15 seconds into the third frame, when Mitch Wahl picked up a rebound and flipped it past an outstretched leNeveu to extend the Florida lead to 4-2.
The Stingrays pulled within one at 16:48, converting on a 5-on-3 power play. Michal Cajkovsky scored the marker on a blistering slapshot from the blue line. Despite the late goal, the Everblades held on for the 4-3 victory to open the season.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow at Germain Arena at 7:00 p.m. The McDonald's Tailagate Party starts at 5:00 p.m. featuring live music, bounce houses, and face painting for the kids! The team will once again wear the special black jerseys which will be auctioned off following the game with the proceeds benefiting The Passion Foundation.