ESTERO, FL – Michael Kirkpatrick finished with a goal and an assist to lead the Florida Everblades to a 5-3 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings in front of a sold out crowd of 7,621 at Germain Arena Saturday night.
VIDEO: To watch the game highlights CLICK HERE
The Blades got out to the quick start they’ve been looking for with two goals in less than two minutes to start the game. Just 46 seconds in, Mike Aviani backhanded a pass from behind the net to feed Mike Ferrantino stationed in front of the net who chipped it by Riopel for the 1-0 lead.
A little over a minute later, Mitchell Heard got a breakaway pass from Matt Hatch before going to his go to move with the forehand backhand roofer on Riopel to put the Blades out to a quick two goal lead early.
The K-Wings answered with a goal of their own with 14:14 left in the first on a pass dropped to Brian Hart in the slot by Peter Schneider, Hart fired it on net beating Peters on the blocker side to make it a 2-1 game.
Former Everblade Peter Schneider continued his vengeance tour with five minutes gone by in the second, scoring his sixth goal against the Blades this season with a slick wrister that beat Peters to tie the game at 2-2.
Anthony Peters came up big for the Blades two minutes later, robbing the K-Wings on a cross crease one timer pass that he smothered, to keep the game tied.
The Blades found themselves on the man advantage for four minutes with 8:53 left in the second, but were unable to capitalize. However, the K-Wings were able to break a 2-0 rush after a defensive mishap by the Blades, and Taylor Sorenson would come in one-on-one with Peters and pop a backhand shot by Peters for Kalamazoo’s third unanswered goal to put the score at 3-2 going into the second intermission.
The Blades finally broke the code that had been Nick Riopel who made 41 consecutive saves after surrendering two goals on the first two shots of the game. Florida. Captain Brant Harris shoveled the puck by Riopel to tie the game at three.
The Blades found themselves on another four minute power play in the third and took advantage. Michael Kirkpatrick gave Florida the lead back off of a cross crease feed from Brendan O’Donnell. The goal have the Everblades a 4-3 lead at 7:58 of the final frame.
The K-Wings pulled their goalie with two minutes left in the period, and as Riopel was headed off to the bench, the Blades grabbed possession of the puck and broke into the Kalamazoo end. Aviani passed the puck to the crease and was knocked home by Brendan O’Donnell for the empty net goal.
O’Donnell’s 39th goal of the season sealed the 5-3 win for Florida. Anthony Peters got the win for the Blades saving 21 of 24 shots, while Nick Riopel takes the loss, despite making 51 saves in the contest. Florida outshot the Wings 56-24.
Game Note: Prior to the game, the Everblades welcomed Chris Scodder as their 4-millionth fan in team history.
Florida will now get set for a Wednesday night meeting with the Solar Bears at the Amway Center in Orlando beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Upcoming Home Games & Promotions
Monday, April 3: Black Out Jersey Reveal at Ford’s Garage!Join us at Ford’s Garage at Miromar Outlets from 4-6 p.m. as we reveal the design for the Black Out jerseys which will be worn on the April 8 game against Orlando. The jerseys will be auctioned off to benefit the Passion Foundation. Several of the Everblades players will be on hand to meet with fans and sign autographs. So come join the fun and enjoy the great food and drinks at Ford’s Garage!
Saturday, April 8 vs. Orlando, 7:00 p.m. – Black Out Night and Fan Appreciation Night! Fans will receive a FREE Everblades team photo courtesy of FGCU and a FREE Rally Card courtesy of the Naples Daily News. Fans will also receive giveaways from Wawa! The team will be wearing special black jerseys which will be auctioned off following the game to benefit the Passion Foundation. The team awards ceremony will take place prior to the game!
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.comPlayoff Tickets Now on Sale: Playoff ticket packages and single game tickets for Playoff Game A & B are currently on sale. Playoff package may be purchased through the team's administrative offices located at Germain Arena or by calling 239-948-7825. Single game tickets for Games A & B may be purchased at the Florida Community Bank Box Office or online by CLICKING HERE
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###