Game Recap by Robert Molnar / Above Photo courtesy of Zack Rawson
WHEELING, WV – Three third period goals lead the Wheeling Nailers to a 5-4 comeback victory over the Florida Everblades Friday night at the WesBanco Arena. The Everblades and Nailers are now tied 2-2 in this opening round best-of-seven playoff series. With the win, the Nailers force a Game 6 to be played at Germain Arena on Monday, April 25 (7:30 p.m.)
Getting an open shot in the attacking zone, the ‘Blades opened the nights scoring 7:45 into the first period. Moving into the zone, Everblades defenseman Mike Cornell tripped and fell to the ice. Noticing Brendan O’Donnell breaking into the zone as well, Cornell shuffled the puck over to O’Donnell. Moving into the slot, O’Donnell snapped his shot past the glove of Wheeling goaltender Brian Foster.
After the opening goal, both teams exchanged chances for the remainder of the first period. Taking advantage of a Wheeling turnover, the ‘Blades doubled their lead off a rocket shot from Ryan Martindale. Picking off an errant pass, Ryan Martindale headed in alone to the attacking zone. Getting to the top of the left wing circle, Martindale fired a slap shot that screamed past Brian Foster.
The ‘Blades wasted no time adding to their lead. Just 13-seconds after the Everblades second goal, Matt Willows took a feed from Ryan Martindale at the top of the slot. Taking advantage of traffic in front of the Wheeling goal, Willows wristed a quick shot through the traffic, past a completely screened Brian Foster.
On the power play, Wheeling took advantage of an Everblades’ turnover in their own zone to finally get on the board midway through the second period. Picking up the puck off a failed clearance attempt, Mathew Maione sent an angled pass across the front of goal to the waiting stick of John McCarron. Getting the puck, McCarron slipped his shot past Everblades’ goaltender Anthony Peters.
Attempting to mount a comeback, Wheeling cut the Everblades lead in half at the 14:02 mark of the middle frame. Moving into the zone, Connor Leen sent a centering feed towards the Everblades’ net. Pin balling around the front of goal, Ty Loney picked up the puck and hammered it high into the net.
Just over a minute later, the ‘Blades got a goal back thanks to an odd man rush late in the second period. Breaking on a 2-on-1 rush, Matt Willows patiently brought the puck all the way down to the low circle. Centering the puck to the front of the net, Danny New blasted his shot off of the crossbar and down into the goal.
Not going away without a fight, Wheeling again cut the Everblades’ lead in half less than a minute into the third period. Shorthanded, John McCarron picked up the puck in the neutral zone, cut right around the ‘Blades defense and moved in alone towards the goal. Firing a quick shot, McCarron buried the puck past Anthony Peters.
Just over a minute later, Wheeling continued to build momentum, tying the game up off another great team effort in the ‘Blades zone. Getting the puck into the attacking zone, John McCarron found Cody Wydo. Picking up the puck, Wydo fired his shot past Anthony Peters.
Building off of their momentum, Wheeling took their first lead of the game midway through the third period. Receiving a pass from Danny Fick on the right wing side, Riley Brace moved in, then fired a wicked slap shot past Anthony Peters and into the back of the net.
Though the ‘Blades had some opportunities late in the game, they could not take advantage. Gaining a power play late in the game, the Everblades could not find a way to put the puck in, giving Wheeling the 5-4 come from behind victory.
Brian Foster made some stellar saves late in the game, earning the win for the Nailers after stopping 25 of the 29-shots he faced. Anthony Peters suffers the loss in goal for the Everblades, allowing five goals on 31-shots.
The Florida Everblades continue their playoff push in game five of this best of seven series this Saturday night against the Wheeling Nailers at the WesBanco Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. Eastern time. Fans can catch the game broadcast on 770 AM or online by CLICKING HERE
The following is a complete schedule the of the best-of-seven series:(Series tied 2-2)Game 1:Friday, April 15, Wheeling - 6 at Florida - 3Game 2: Saturday, April 16, Wheeling - 1 at Florida - 4Game 3: Wednesday, April 20, Florida - 6 at Wheeling - 3Game 4: Friday, April 22, Florida - 4 at Wheeling - 5 Game 5: Saturday, April 23, Florida at Wheeling, WesBanco Arena, 7:35 p.mGame 6: Monday, April 25, Wheeling at Florida, Germain Arena, 7:30 p.m.Game 7: Wednesday, April 27, Wheeling at Florida, Germain Arena, 7:30 p.m.**** If Necessary
Game Tickets: Everblades tickets may be purchased at the Florida Community Bank 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.
2016-17 Season Ticket Plans Now Available: Full and flexible partial season ticket plans are currently available for the 2016-17 season. We offer several tickets packages designed to help fit your budget and schedule. For more information, call 239-948-7825, or stop by the team’s main office located at Germain Arena from Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fans may also stop by our sales tables located in the concourse at Everblades games. .
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes###