By Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, FL – Brant Harris, Brendan O’Donnell and Matt Berry each finished with three point nights to lift the Florida Everblades to a 6-3 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings at Germain Arena Wednesday night. With the win, the Everblades clinch their second South Division title in the last three years. Florida is now guaranteed to have home ice advantage for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Brendan O’Donnell wasted no time getting the Blades on the board scoring just 1:45 into the first period. Kyle Pereira directed a shot from the left wing that was stopped by Kalamazoo goaltender Joel Martin. But the rebound bounced right to O;Donnell who chipped the puck over Martin’s pad during a scramble in front of the net. With his 37thgoal of the season O’Donnell reclaimed his league lead in goals, passing David Pacan of the Brampton Beast.
That would be the only goal of the period, despite the three power play chances for the Blades, with Martin coming up with key saves to keep the game within reach for the K-Wings.
The K-Wings were able to tie it at one with a goal from Kyle Blaney, as he cut down the right side of the ice before wristing the puck along the ice and beating Anthony Peters through his five-hole at 7:32 into the third.
Blades’ captain Brant Harris answered at 7:49 of the middle frame with a toe drag move past the defender before sniping Martin’s glove side, giving the Blades a 2-1 lead.
John McCarron added to Florida’s lead one minute later, spinning just outside the crease and firing the puck towards the nets. The puck had eyes of its own as it would squeak past Martin to make it a 3-1 game.
The Everblades found the back of the net on the power play thanks to a give-and-go pass down low by Mike Ferrantino to Curt Gogol who was primed for his one timer in the slot, firing it by Martin to make the game 4-1 with 1:21 left in the second period.
With the third period getting underway the Blades held a daunting 4-1 lead over the K-Wings. Michael Trebish got the K-Wings within two goals as he fired a shot from the point, clinking it off the crossbar and in, to make it a 4-2 game with a little over thirteen minutes left in the third period.
However, Florida wasted little time to respond with a goal coming off the stick of Harris on the one-timed feed from Michael Kirkpatrick, giving Harris three points on the night (2G 1A).
Matt Berry continued to pile on the goals for the Blades with 6:22 left in the game, as he took it around behind the net, spun, and fired one high by Martin on the glove side, extending the lead to 6-2.
The Blades would take the 6-2 score to the final buzzer, picking up their 43rd win of the season, and clinching the South Division title with the win.
Anthony Peters picked up his 30th win on the season for the Blades, putting away 22 of the 24 shots he faced. Joel Martin took the loss, allowing six goals on 37 shots.
Upcoming Home Games & Promotions Friday, March 31 vs. Kalamazoo, 7:30 p.m. – Joins us for dinner & hockey, as kids eat FREE in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entree! The first 400 fans will receive FREE passes to the Naples Zoo! There will also be a Jason's Deli giveaway as well! We will be celebrating youth hockey throughout the night with the Junior Everblades Hiockey Association.
Saturday, April 1 vs. Kalamazoo, 7:00 p.m. – First 500 fans (aged 12 and under) will receive a FREE Everblades Jersey courtesy of Wendy's! It is also Storybook Prince & Princess Night, featuring themed characters and photo booth in the concourse! From 5-7 p.m. there will be live music and bounce houses for 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.com
Special 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###