Written by Robert Molnar
DULUTH, GA – Stephen MacAulay scored two goals and added two assists to help lead the Florida Everblades (15-2-1-2, 33 pts) to a 5-3 win over the Atlanta Gladiators (10-7-1-1, 22 pts) Friday night at the Infinite Energy Arena.
Just two-minutes into the first period, Florida took a 1-0 lead when Michael Kirkpatrick got the ‘Blades on the board first as he re-directed a Stephen MacAulay shot into the net. MacAulay fired the puck from just below the end line towards the front of goal. Hitting the stick of Kirkpatrick, the puck deflected straight into the top corner of the net.
The Gladiators tied the game at 1-1 just over a minute-and-a-half later as Lindsay Sparks re-directed a shot into the net. Ryan Lannon picked up a drop pass from Zach Malatesta at the point. Lannon fired a slapshot and sent the puck off the stick of Sparks and past Everblades goaltender Callum Booth.
The ‘Blades took a 2-1 lead off a blazing shot from Gus Young. Picking up the puck in his own zone, Michael Kirkpatrick moved quickly to break into the attacking zone. Kirkpatrick circled the net and found Gus Young alone at the left wing circle. Young rang a shot off the crossbar and just into the net.
The Gladiators tied the score at 2-2 with just over two-minutes remaining in the first period, taking advantage of a power play chance. Brady Vail sent a pass across the face of the goal, but the puck hit off a skate in front and headed right into the Florida crease where it was quickly shoved home by Phil Lane.
Florida once again took a one-goal lead, this time cashing in on the power play to make the score 3-2. Gus Young fired a slap shot through traffic and off of Atlanta goaltender Dan Vladar. However, the rebound went right to the stick of John McCarron who quickly shoved the puck into the net.
That lead would last until just past the 14-minute mark of the middle frame when Atlanta once again tied the game, this time making the score 3-3. Winning an offensive zone faceoff, Lindsay Sparks brought the puck low into the attacking zone and centered a pass across the zone. The puck was met by Phil Lane who soon buried his second tally of the night.
In the third period, the Everblades once again jumped on top, taking a 4-3 lead midway through the final frame. Stephen MacAulay received a drop pass from John McCarron at the left wing circle. MacAulay wasted little time and stepped into his shot and ripped a hard slap shot into the back of the net.
MacAulay later added an empty net tally in the final minute of regulation, as the Everblades would hold onto their fourth and final lead of the game, earning the 5-3 win over the rival Gladiators.
Callum Booth played well in goal for the ‘Blades and earns the win after stopping 25 of the 28 shots he faced. Dan Vladar suffers the loss in goal for the Gladiators after allowing four goals on 30 shots.
Returning to the ice tomorrow night, the Florida Everblades will once again take on the rival Atlanta Gladiators. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Eastern Time.
IMPORTANT BROADCAST INFORMATION: Due to scheduling conflicts and prior programming commitments by WJBX, Saturday’s game at Atlanta will not be broadcast on WJBX, or the WJBX online stream. Fans can tune in a free audio stream via the Atlanta Gladiators Broadcast Network by CLICKING HERE Fans can watch the game online at ECHL.TV
Upcoming Home Games
Friday, December 8, vs. Jacksonville, 7:30 p.m. Kids eat free in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entree.
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###