By Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, FL – Brant Harris finished with a five points while Alex Nedeljkiovic stopped all 20 shots faced to pace the Everblades to a 10-0 victory over the Orlando Solar Bears in front of a sellout crowd announced at 7,703 at Germain Arena Saturday night. The Everblades claim the Wawa Sunshine Cup Series 20 points to 9 points. The Everblades and Solar Bears will meet in the first round of the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs beginning Wednesday (April 12) at Germain Arena (Full series schedule listed below).
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The Everblades got off to hot start in first period scoring three unanswered goals. Matt Berry led the charge with a goal just three minutes in with a power play goal coming off a nice cycle play that ended up on Mitchell Heard’s stick before he dished it out in front to the ever so shifty Matt Berry that set up in front of the net and was able to sneak one by the pad of Mitch Gillam.
The Blades would add their lead with a tally from Mike Aviani, who was able to break into the zone and snapped one by Gillam’s glove side from the top of the opposite side circle.
Josh Wesley added another power play goal to close out the period. Wesley delivered a wrist shot from the blue line through traffic finding the back of the net to make it 3-0 Blades going into the first intermission.
The Everblades got out to another speedy start in the second period with Brant Harris tapping home a rebound into an empty net off of a Brendan O’Donnell shot just 2:26 into the period, extending the Blades lead to 4-0.
The Blades continued to pile on the goals in the second with the help of an Orlando defender who kicked it into his own net off of a John McCarron shot.
In the third, the ‘Blades scored their third power play tally of the night when Mitchell Heard finished off a flawless tic-tac-toe play. Aviani delivered a pass at the right circle to John McCarron at the left circle. McCarron instantly moved the puck back in front on the right side down low where Heard was ready to fire it behind Gillam who didn’t stand a chance to make the save.
Aside from some physicality from each team, thatwould do it for the second, as Florida took a 6-0 lead over Orlando into the second intermission.
Michael Kirkpatrick one-timed a seventh goal past Gillam on a feed from the point by Kevin Raine.
Four minutes later, Wesley blasted his second goal of the night from the top of the right circle continuing the onslaught on the Solar Bears, adding to the 8-0 lead.
Brendan O’Donnell had business of his own to attend to in the game; in order to tie the league lead in goals he needed just one. With a wrister from the right wing circle, O’Donnell netted his 41st goal of the season to tie him for the league lead this season with Brampton’s David Pacan.
The Blades pleased the sellout crowd by betting their tenth goal of the night by the hand of Matt Hatch with 2:11 remaining. Hatch caught up with a puck at the left wing and snapped a shot into the Orlando net to secure the 10-0 victory.
The 10-0 win was the second biggest win in team history. Florida defeated the August Lynx by a 12-0 score in 2008.
Alex Nedeljkovic earned his second career professional shutout stopping all 20 shots faced. Gillam takes the loss making 29 saves of the 39 shots faced.
2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs: South Division Semifinals ScheduleBest-of-Seven Series
Game 1: Wednesday, April 12 vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m. (Germain Arena) Enjoy $2 draft beers, $2 wines, $2 hot dogs all night long!
Game 2: Friday, April 14 vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m. (Germain Arena) Kids eat free in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entree!
Game 3: Thursday, April 20 at Orlando, 7:00 p.m. (Amway Center)Game 4: Saturday, April 22 at Orlando, 7:00 p.m. (Amway Center)Game 5: Sunday, April 23 at Orlando, 4:00 p.m. (Amway Center)**Game 6: Tuesday, April 25 vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m. (Germain Arena)** Game 7: Wednesday, April 26 vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m. (Germain Arena)**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.comPlayoff Tickets Now on Sale: Playoff ticket packages and single game tickets for Playoff Game A & B are currently on sale. Playoff packages 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###