EVANSVILLE, IN -- Matt Marquardt recorded a hat trick to lead the Everblades to a 3-1 victory over the Evansville IceMen at the Ford Center Friday night. With the win, the Everblades (42-13-2-4, 90 pts) clinch a berth in the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs. The win was also the ninth straight for Florida.
The Everblades received an early power play opportunity in the game's first minute of play, but it was the IceMen that took advantage.
Florida's Cameron Burt cradled the puck at the blue line, but slipped and lost an edge that led to Jarret Lukin skating the puck back the other direction. Lukin drew the Everblades defenders in close and then saucered a pass across to Justin MacDonald at the slot. MacDonald angled a backhanded shot high into the past goaltender Daniel Altshuller for the shorthanded goal.
Florida tied the game at 8:25 of the second period on the power play. Steven Whitney rifled a shot from the high slot that was tipped and redirected by Matt Marquardt high into the net past Evansville goaltender Branden Komm.
Florida grabbed the lead at 4:45 of the third period, when Jesse Graham fired a shot from the right wing that was tipped wide of the net. However, the puck bounced off the end boards and bounced directly to Marquardt at the opposite wing. Marquardt flexed the puck into the open net behind Komm to put the 'Blades on top 2-1.
Florida held off the IceMen for the remainder of the third, and Marquardt completed the hat trick when he scored an empty-net tally with 23 seconds remaining to seal the 3-1 victory.
The win marked the 16th time in the team's 17-year history that the Everblades have reached the ECHL postseason.
Altshuller earned the win stopping 23 of 24 shots faced, while Komm takes the loss allowing two goals on 28 shots faced.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday at the Ford Center begin ning at 8:15 p.m. Fans may listen online at theislandfm.net
Upcoming Home Games & Promotions
Wednesday, April 1, vs. Reading, 7:30 p.m. -- Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs, $2 drafts, $2 wines all night long in the concourse! It’s also College Night! College Students receive $5 tickets with free parking!
Friday, April 3, vs. Reading, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4 vs. South Carolina, 7:00 p.m. Hearts & Hockey Ticket Packs are still available for just $50!*T-Shirt*Autographed Puck*4-Endzone Ticket Vouchers which can be redeemed for any game this season.
To order, call 239-948-7825, or stop by the Everblades main office at Germain Arena. Hearts & Hockey Packs are also available on game nights at the Everblades information table located in the concourse.
Game Tickets: Everblades tickets may be purchased at the Century Link Prism Box Office located at Germain Arena, or at any Ticketmaster outlet, or online atwww.ticketmaster.com
Discounted Group Tickets: Bring your group of 10 or more to a game at a discounted price, and also receive an Everblades souvenir! Group tickets are available for all home games. For more information on group tickets, call 239-948-7825.
12 & 24 Game Ticket Packages are currently on sale! All packages save you money from the box office price, and come with many great benefits. For more information call 239-948-7825, or stop by the Everblades Main Office located at Germain Arena, Monday—Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.