Photo Credit: Taylor TrebotteWritten by Robert Molnar
DULUTH, GA –Six different players scored a goal for the Florida Everblades (8-0-1-0, 17 pts) as they defeated the Atlanta Gladiators (5-6-1-1, 12 pts) by a final score of 6-5 in what was an absolute wild game Friday night at the Infinite Energy Arena. With the win, Florida remains unbeaten in regulation this season.
Much like Tuesday night’s contest between the two teams, the Everblades jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. Moving into the attacking zone, John McCarron found Matt Berry along the right side of the ice. Holding for just a fraction of a second to freeze Atlanta goaltender Matt Ginn, Berry fired a slap shot high into the net to give the ‘Blades the early advantage.
Continuing to push the Gladiators early on, the ‘Blades doubled their lead midway through the first period on a nice second chance opportunity. Holding the puck in Atlanta’s zone, John Wesley snapped a quick shot that was easily saved by Matt Ginn. Falling into the skates of the players gathered around the net, the puck was picked up by Peter Schneider who flipped it above the outstretched pads of Ginn and into the net.
Just a few minutes later, Everblades goaltender Anthony Peters suffered some confusion with the officials which allowed the Gladiators cut Florida’s lead in half. With Atlanta on the power play, a one-timer from the Gladiators was saved by Peters. However, thinking that the whistle had been blown, Peters began to stand allowing Justin Buzzeo to jab the puck across the line.
Less than a minute later, poetic justice ensued as the ‘Blades once again took a two-goal lead. Setting up shop on the left side of the Atlanta crease, Brant Harris managed to get his stick onto the puck. Quickly firing it at goal, the puck just managed to squeeze between the pads of Matt Ginn and trickle its way just across the goal line. The goal would also be Ginn’s last action of the game as he was replaced by Jay Williams.
Continuing the first period barrage, the Everblades took a massive 4-1 lead with just 1:53 left in the opening frame. Once again rushing into the Gladiators’ zone. Zack Kamrass sent to the puck to Matt Berry. Faking his initial shot, Berry fired the puck towards goal. Taking a deflection off of Williams, the puck headed right to John McCarron who quickly turned the puck into the net.
Heading into the second period, both the ‘Blades and Gladiators continued to push each other with neither side showing any signs of slowing down. After some solid saves throughout the beginning part of the second period, Atlanta began to build some momentum. Just past the midway mark of the period, the Gladiators earned two goals in as many minutes as Drew Baker and Justin Buzzeo both scored off the rebound to cut the ‘Blades lead to just one.
As Atlanta continued to push for the game-tying goal, both teams knew that the next goal would likely be game-changing one. Despite some more chances for the Gladiators, it would be the Everblades that again extended their lead to two-goals. Picking up the puck, Matt Mackenzie held back his shot as he waited for the traffic in front of the goal to clear. Sensing an opening, Mackenzie ripped a shot through some of the remaining traffic and into the back of the net.
With the Gladiators’ momentum snuffed out, the ‘Blades took advantage of the drop in morale from Atlanta to extend their lead. Moving into the zone, John Wesley found Brendan O’Donnell alone in the high slot. Firing a quick wrist shot, O’Donnell sent the puck top shelf to give the ‘Blades a commanding 6-3 lead.
Despite the solid lead, the ‘Blades just could not put away the Gladiators. Midway through the third period, Atlanta cut the Florida lead down to just two off another rebound goal, this time from Blake Kessel. A few minutes after that, the Gladiators took advantage of a power play to cut the ‘Blades lead in half as Josh Atkinson managed to get the puck past Anthony Peters.
As the game headed into its stretch run, Atlanta continued to pepper the Everblades with solid shots and scoring opportunities. With Florida on their heels, the Gladiators began to up the intensity of the game. A fight between Levko Koper and Eric Neiley would result in a bizarre three-minute major power play for Atlanta.
Despite the Gladiators having both the momentum and the man advantage, the Everblades came up big on the penalty kill. Held off for the full three minutes, Atlanta was forced to pull their goaltender to earn the extra attacker. What followed was an amazing team effort from the Everblades as they blocked multiple shots in the dying seconds of the contest to hold on for the 6-5 victory.
Anthony Peters earned the win in goal for the Everblades, stopping 28 of the 33-shots he faced. Jay Williams suffers the loss in a relief effort for the Gladiators allowing three goals of the 33-shots he faced. Matt Ginn finished allowing three goals on 13 shots in the first period.
The Florida Everblades continue on their four-game road trip with the first of two games this weekend against the rival Greenville Swamp Rabbits at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Fans can catch the game broadcast on WJBX News, Talk & More on 101.5-FM.104.3-FM, 770-AM or by CLICKING HEREUpcoming Everblades Home Games & Promotions
Friday, November 18 vs. Greenville, 7:30 p.m. – Harry Potter Night! Harry Potter themed music, activities and videos throughout the night! Come dressed as your favorite Harry Potter character. Kids also eat free in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of adult entree.
Saturday, November 19 vs. Missouri, 7:00 p.m. – Swampee's Birthday! Joins us for Swampee's birthday with all of his mascot friends! Join us from 5-7p.m. for the pregame tailgate featuring live music and bounce houses for the kids! The first 500 fans will receive free ice cream courtesy of Molly Moos!
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.com2016-17 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.
Special Offer! Purchase any new ticket package for the 2016-17 season, and receive a $20 gift card from Ford's Garage! Locations include Cape Coral, Downtown Fort Myers and Miromar Outlets in Estero.
Discounted Group Tickets: Bring your group of 10 or more to a game at a discounted price, and you ma also receive an Everblades souvenir! Group tickets are available for all home games. For more information on group tickets, call 239-948-7825.
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes###