By Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, FL – Five Everblades players finished with two-point games as Florida defeated the Jacksonville Icemen 4-2 in a physical affair on Friday night at Germain Arena. The Everblades (17-2-1-2, 37 pts) extend their unbeaten streak to 11 games.
The 'Blades and Icemen started off the game with just what you would expect from a division rivalry; a ton of physicality. Both teams had their share of heavy hits before tempers boiled over when Tyler Ganly took on Garret Hunt in front of the Blades net, both getting a few good jabs before the refs got in to break it up. Not long after, Gus Young was cross checked from behind into the boards by Tanner Eberle, and Clark Seymour took exception to the hit and dropped the gloves with Eberle.
The 'Blades walked away with a power play after the fight, due to the crosscheck from Eberle, but it did not go as planned as the Icemen scored a shorthanded goal just a little over a minute in to the penalty. Everett Clark got the Icemen on the board off a rebound from the shot of Alexandre Goulet.
The Icemen were the only team to find their way onto the scoreboard in the first period, and they took their 1-0 lead into the intermission.
The Everblades tied it up just 3:34 into the period when Clark Seymour went coast to coast cutting down the middle of the ice, before entering the zone and firing it from the middle of the circles up high. The puck deflected off Lotz, and hit the top of the net popping down on the line for the goal. Despite a delay for review of the goal by the officials, the goal would stand, making it a 1-1 game early in the second period.
Friday fight night continued with the third fight on the card, as Garrett Hunt for the Icemen and Dave Dziurzynski for the Everblades squared off in a heavyweight bout for the ages, with both players firing off with over 15 haymakers a piece before the fight was broken up by the linesmen.
Florida built off the momentum provided by the fight as they were buzzing in the Jacksonville end. The ‘Blades fired off multiple shots and chopped at numerous rebounds before Justin Kea was able to finally chip the puck past Lotz to give the Blades the 2-1 lead.
Not done with their second period offensive onslaught, the Blades added another goal before the end of the period to extend the lead to 3-1. After a long possession in the Jacksonville end, John McCarron’s shot form the top of the circle found Stephen MacAulay down low in the slot. Although he was facing away from the net, MacAulay was able to pull off a 180-spin move and backhand the puck through Lotz’s five hole for the tally.
Matching minors would free up some ice for a 4-on-4 situation at the midway point of the third period. The Icemen used the extra ice to their advantage as Everett Clark streaked across the crease and caught a shot from Scott Savage before it could reach the net. Immediately snagging the puck, Clark dragged it along the crease and potted it behind Booth who was fooled by the play. With Clark’s second of the night the Icemen brought it within one, with a 3-2 score with 7:05 left in the final frame.
The ‘Blades found themselves in penalty trouble late with Nelson Armstrong taking a delay of game penalty with 1:43 left in the period, but with the goalie pulled to setup a 6-on-4, the ‘Blades got it out of the zone with a MacAulay pass to John McCarron who scored one of the prettiest empty net goals -- with a no look backhand shot from just outside the Blades blue line.
The game ended with a 4-2 Everblades win, but frustrated Icemen started a scrap in the end of the Blades ice after the horn sounded. Fights number four and five brokeout with Brett Bulmer landing a punishing right hook on Chase Harrison that sent him to the ice, while Keegan Kanzig engaged in a tilt for over a minute with Cristiano DiGiacinto.
Callum Booth put aside 18 of the 20 shots fired his way to take his 8th win of the season which propelled him into first among wins for rookie goalies through 11 starts. Austin Lotz takes the loss allowing three goals on 33 shots faced. The two teams will meet again on Saturday for the annual IBERIABANK Teddy Bears Toss! Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. at Germain Arena.
Upcoming Home Games
Saturday, December 9, vs. Jacksonville, 7:00 p.m. The Annual IBERIABANK Teddy Bear Toss! It is one of the biggest games of the season. Fans are encouraged to bring a new teddy bear or stuffed animal to the game to throw out onto the ice when the Everblades score their first goal. All of the teddy bears will be rounded up and distributed to local children's charities for the holidays!
Purchase Single Game Tickets at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, or online via Ticketmaster by CLICKING HERE
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###