DULUTH, GA – Mitchell Heard scored twice while both Michael Kirkpatrick and Josiah Didier scored on the power play to help lead the Florida Everblades to a 4-2 victory over the rival Atlanta Gladiators Friday night at the Infinite Energy Arena. The result was also a special one for Everblades head coach Brad Ralph, as he earned his 300th career victory from behind the bench.
BOX SCOREDespite both teams seeing their fair share of chances in the first period, it would be the Gladiators that would score the game’s first goal and take a 1-0 lead near the end of the opening frame. After stopping a low angle shot from Ben Marshall, Martin Ouellette suffered some bad luck as his initial save sent the puck right into the path of an onrushing Chase Witala. While at the net, Witala did not need a second invitation as he buried the loose puck past Ouellette.
The Everblades struck back just 1:08 into the second period as the power play unit continued its red hot start as Michael Kirkpatrick tipped in a power play goal to tie the game at 1-1. After receiving the puck at the point following an offensive zone faceoff, Keegan Kanzig flipped a shot towards goal. Deflected out of the air by Kirkpatrick, the puck took an Everblades bounce, deflecting off the surface of the ice and bouncing right past the pads of Atlanta goaltender Matt Ginn.
The ‘Blades continued their special teams trend, and capitalized on a five-on-three power play chance to take a 2-1 lead midway through the second period. Clark Seymour managed to get the puck to Steven Lorentz who quickly dispatched a pass over to Josh Didier at the right wing circle. Stepping into his shot, Didier blasted the puck past the glove of Matt Ginn and into the back of the net.
In the third period, the ‘Blades began to up the early pressure on the Gladiators. That early pressure quickly paid dividends as just under a minute and a half into the final frame, Mitchell Heard was pulled down from behind on a goal scoring opportunity, earning himself a penalty shot. Taking advantage of this golden opportunity, Heard brought the puck in low before roofing his shot into the top corner of the net to give the ‘Blades a 3-1 lead.
Despite having a two-goal lead, the Everblades continued to pressure Atlanta in their own zone. Finally, late in the third period, that pressure paid off as Mitchell Heard went to the backhand before roofing his second goal of the night high into the net to give the ‘Blades a 4-1 lead.
The Gladiators added a second tally late in the third period on a tipped shot by Luke Sandler, but Atlanta could not find a way to complete the comeback. Holding off the Gladiators tremendous late pressure, the Everblades secured the 4-2 victory.
Martin Ouellette was once again stellar in goal for the ‘Blades, earning the win after stopping 27 of the 29 shots he faced. Matt Ginn also played well in goal for the Gladiators but does suffer the loss after allowing four goals on 33 shots.
Brad Ralph earned win number 300 in his head coach career. Ralph has a head coaching record of 300-149-36. Ralph is currently in his seventh season as a head coach, and his second with the Everblades. Ralph has also had coaching stints the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL), Augusta RIverHawks (SPHL) and the Kelowna Rockets (WHL).
The Everblades finish off their short two-game road trip tomorrow night when they will once again take on the rival Atlanta Gladiators. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 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. Fans can also watch the game online at ECHL.TVUpcoming Home Games
Wednesday, October 25 vs. Indy, 7:30 p.m. $2 Hot Dogs, Beer and Wins all night long!
Friday, October 27 vs. Indy, 7:30 p.m. Kids 12 and under eat free in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entree. (Promo good for every Friday game this season)
Saturday, October 28 vs. Indy, 7:00 p.m. "Sweets in the Suites" Kids in Halloween costumes can trick-or-treat in the luxury suites during the intermission!
2017-18 Ticket Packages are Currently on Sale! We offer full season and flexible partial plans that will best fit your schedule and budget! To view pricing and benefits of all available ticket packages CLICK HERE
SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new ticket package for the 2017-18 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford's Garage!
Discounted Group Tickets: Bring your group of 10 or more to a game at a discounted price! Group tickets are available for all home games. Fundraising opportunities are also available. For more information on group tickets, call 239-948-7825, or stop by the Everblades offices at Germain Arena Monday thru Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes###