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O'Donnell's Late Goal Leads 'Blades To 5-3 Win Over Gladiators

Saturday, February 4th
O'Donnell's Late Goal Leads 'Blades To 5-3 Win Over Gladiators

Photo Credit:  Taylor Trebotte/Atlanta GladiatorsWritten by Robert Molnar

DULUTH, GA – Brendan O’Donnell scored the game-winning goal and added an assist to lead the Florida Everblades (31-9-2-2, 66 pts) to a 5-3 victory over the rival Atlanta Gladiators (17-21-6-1, 41 pts) Saturday night at the Infinite Energy Arena. The win also moves the Everblades into a tie with the Toledo Walleye for the league’s best record this season.

Almost in a replay of Friday night’s contest between the two teams, the opening period was dominated by the Gladiators. However, unlike Friday night, Atlanta was able to convert on one of their chances to take the game’s opening lead.

Getting a return feed from Alex Guptill, Justin Buzzeo picked up the puck and made a nice move to cut through traffic and get into the slot. Continuing to stick-handle past Everblades defensemen, Buzzeo got the top of the crease and backhanded a shot over the glove of Florida goaltender Anthony Peters and into the top corner of the net.

Coming out in the second period, the Everblades began to find to their groove. Beginning to up the offensive pressure on Atlanta, Florida tied the game just over two minutes into the frame. Fighting for the puck down in the corner, Josh Wesley managed to come out with possession and turn towards goal. Standing below the red line, Wesley flung a shot towards goal that bounced off the back of Atlanta goaltender Matt Ginn and trickled into the net.

Continuing to build some momentum during the second period, the Everblades took advantage of a power play opportunity to take a 2-1 lead. Possessing the puck down in the attacking zone, the Everblades moved the puck around.

Getting to the right wing circle, Brendan O’Donnell sent a cross-ice pass to a waiting Brant Harris. Ripping a shot on goal, Harris blasted the puck into the back of the net. Earning an assist on the goal, Brendan O’Donnell also extended his point streak to a league high 14 games.

Adding their third goal of the period, Florida doubled their lead thanks to a nice play in front of goal by Matt Berry. Rushing in towards the net, Clark Bishop moved the puck and wristed it towards goal. While Matt Ginn managed to make the initial save, the rebound attempt was quickly turned in by Matt Berry. While the goal was initially waved off, further discussion amongst the officials would see the goal put up on the scoreboard.

Earning a power play just under four minutes into the third period, Atlanta needed just five seconds of the man advantage to cut the ‘Blades lead in half. Winning the ensuing offensive zone faceoff, Tyler Murovich sent the puck back to Josh Atkinson. Sending the puck over the slot area, Trevor Mingoia blasted his one-time slap shot past a sliding Anthony Peters.

Continuing to pressure Florida, the Gladiators earned some more great scoring chances. With just over five minutes remaining in the third period, Atlanta finally managed to convert one of those chances. Winning a battle behind the Everblades goal, Justin Buzzeo managed to send the puck back up towards the front of net. Unable to cover the puck in time, Anthony Peters had no chance as Thomas Frazee chipped the puck into the back of the net.

Coming within inches of taking the lead late in the third period, a mad scramble in the crease kept the Gladiators from taking a late lead. Picking up the loose puck near the mouth of goal, Michael Kirkpatrick immediately turned and fired the puck down ice to a streaking Brendan O’Donnell. Making a nice spin move in the low slot, O’Donnell backhanded his shot past Matt Ginn to give the ‘Blades a 4-3 lead.

With Atlanta pulling the goaltender with just over a minute to play in the contest, Michael Kirkpatrick took the opportunity and buried an empty net goal to seal the 5-3 win in favor of the Everblades.

Anthony Peters was stellar once again in goal for the Everblades, earning the win after stopping 36 of the 39 shots he faced. Matt Ginn also played well during the contest but suffers the loss in goal for Atlanta after allowing four goals on 33 shots.

Returning home to Germain Arena for a pair of games next weekend, the Florida Everblades kickoff a short three-game home stand next Friday night against the rival Atlanta Gladiators. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. Fans can purchase tickets at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, at any Ticketmaster outlet, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Fans can also catch the game broadcast on WJBX News, Talk & More on 101.5-FM.104.3-FM, 770-AM or by CLICKING HERE  Fans can also watch the game online at ECHL.TV

Upcoming Home Games & PromotionsFriday, February, 10 vs. Atlanta7:30 p.m. – Kids eat free in the Breakaway Sports pub with the purchase of an adult entree.

Saturday, February, 11 vs. Atlanta7:00 p.m. – Pink in the Rink night, present by Radiology Regional.  The team will wear special pink jerseys which will be auctioned off following the game.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.comSpecial Offer!  Purchase any new ticket package for the 2016-17 season, and receive an Everblades jersey t-shirt and a $20 gift card from Ford's Garage!  Locations include Cape Coral, Downtown Fort Myers and Miromar Outlets in Estero.  We offer several tickets packages designed to help fit your budget and schedule.

Discounted Group Tickets: Bring your group of 10 or more to a game at a discounted price, and you may 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###

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