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Nedeljkovic Makes 39 Saves & Scores Goal in 5-3 Win

Friday, December 30th
Nedeljkovic Makes 39 Saves & Scores Goal in 5-3 Win

Photo:  Atlanta Gladiators/Taylor TrebotteWritten by Robert Molnar

DULUTH, GA – Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made 39 saves and also scored an empty net goal to lead the Florida Everblades (20-6-1-2, 43 pts) to a 5-3 victory over the Atlanta Gladiators (12-15-4-1, 29 pts) Friday night at the Infinite Energy Arena. The win extends Florida’s South Division lead to five points.

To view Nedeljkovic's goal CLICK HERE

Within seconds of the game’s beginning, the physicality from both sides was clearly on display. With two fights inside the first five minutes of action, it became clear that this contest was going to be extremely hard fought.

Generating some momentum from these scuffles, the Everblades took advantage of a power play opportunity midway through the opening period to take a 1-0 lead. Moving the puck around, Zack Kamrass set up Danny New with a perfect opportunity at the top of the right wing circle. Collecting the puck, New hurled his shot past Atlanta goaltender Jay Williams for the game’s opening goal.

Continuing to build off that momentum from the first goal, Brendan O’Donnell doubled the ‘Blades lead off an excellent shot from an extremely tight angle. Controlling the puck down in the attacking zone, Curt Gogol got the puck to O’Donnell along the left wing side. Getting the lower part of the circle, O’Donnell went top shelf as he rifled the puck into the back of the net.

Following another fight, the ‘Blades again added to their lead, scoring less than a minute after O’Donnell’s tally. Getting an attacking zone faceoff after the fight, Mike Ferrantino took a clean draw and sent the puck back to Dalton Smith. Immediately firing the puck towards goal, Smith watched as his shot fired past the glove of Jay Williams and buried itself into the side of the net.

As the game entered the second period, Atlanta finally began to build some attacking momentum of their own. While some excellent saves from Everblades goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic kept Atlanta scoreless for most of the period, the Gladiators finally broke through late in the middle frame. Getting the puck, Shane Bakker turned a fired a quick shot towards goal. While Nedeljkovic managed to get a piece of the puck, he could not stop it from crossing the goal line.

Entering the third period, both teams knew that the next goal would be key to the outcome of this game. While Atlanta had their opportunities early in the period, it was the Everblades who scored that key goal thanks to a solid effort from Brant Harris. Moving into the Atlanta zone, Harris came to a stop at the right wing circle. Winding up, Harris blazed the puck right past Jay Williams to put Florida up 4-1.

Despite being down, the Gladiators were determined to not be out. Continuing to up the pressure on the Florida defense, Atlanta once again cut the Everblades lead to just two off a nice team effort. Moving the puck around, Trevor Mingoia took the feed from Josh Atkinson and buried his chance past Alex Nedeljkovic.

Still down by two goals with under two-minutes remaining in the game, Atlanta was gifted a power play chance late in the contest. Pulling the goaltender to have a two-man advantage, the Gladiators threw everything they had at the Everblades. Using this advantage to their benefit, Shane Bakker scored his second of the night, flipping home a rebound opportunity to cut the ‘Blades lead in half.

Pulling the goaltender once again following the ensuing faceoff, Atlanta continued to look for the tying goal. With the opposite net empty, Everblades goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic picked up the loose puck and flung it all the way down the ice for an empty net goal, sealing the Everblades 5-3 win.

Alex Nedeljkovic was stellar in net for the Everblades, earning his second straight win after stopping 39 of the 42-shots he faced while also scoring the first ever goal by a goaltender in Everblades history.

Nedeljkovic's goal marked the 12th time in league history that a goal was scored by a goaltender.  The last time an ECHL goaltender scored a goal was when Cincinnati’s Brian Foster accomplished this feat on February 15, 2013 against Trenton. Jay Williams also played well for the Gladiators but suffers the loss after allowing four goals on 36-shots.

BOX SCOREFinishing off their road trip, the Florida Everblades now head east to the North Charleston Coliseum for a game tomorrow night against the rival South Carolina Stingrays. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. Fans can catch the game broadcast on WJBX News, Talk & More on 101.5-FM.104.3-FM, 770-AM or by CLICKING HERE

Upcoming Home Games & PromotionsWednesday, January 4 vs. Manchester7:30 p.m. – $2 Wednesdays! $2 Beers, Wines & Hot Dogs all night long!  Wednesday's are also College Night.  College students receive a $5 ticket w/ free parking when they present their College ID at Germain Arena.

Friday, January 6 vs. Manchester7:30 p.m. – Kids eat FREE in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the  purchase of an adult entree!

Saturday, December 7 vs. Manchester7:00 p.m. – The Fur Circus (pictured below) will perform during the intermissions and entertain fans throughout the night.  Pregame tailgate from 5-7 p.m. featuring live music and bounce houses.  A great night to bring the kids!

Ticket Information

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.This release courtesy of Fort Myers Technical College & Cape Coral Technical College

The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes###

Upcoming Home Games

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Jacksonville Icemen @ Florida Everblades
Puck Drops:
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