Written by Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, FL – Martin Ouellette stopped all 14 shots faced, while Kyle Neuber finished with two points to guide the Florida Everblades (47-13-2-4, 100 pts) to a 3-0 shutout win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits Wednesday night at Germain Arena. Florida extends its lead to five points over South Carolina for the top spot in the South Division. Both teams have six games remaining in the regular season.
In the first, the Blades received four power plays opportunities, but walked away empty-handed as Chris Nell stood tall for the Swamp Rabbits in net. On the other side Martin Ouellette didn’t have much to deal with until late in the period as the Swamp Rabbits recorded three of their five first period shots on the power play.
Despite controlling much of the period and outshooting the Swamp Rabbits 11-5 the Blades entered the first intermission scoreless.
The Blades finally broke through late in the second period as Kyle Neuber got them on the board at 16:49. Neuber banged home a rebound off of a Stephen MacAulay shot right outside the crease that went straight to Neuber’s stick.
The Blades carried the narrow 1-0 lead into the intermission despite tripling the Swamp Rabbits shots 27-9 and quadrupled their period total 16-4.
In the third, the Swamp Rabbits and Blades exchanged chances while four aside but there was none bigger than when Chris Nell played the puck at the circle, but John McCarron took it away and thought he was shooting at an empty net. However, the shot hit directly into a sliding Greenville defender and Heard’s rebound chance was shakily put aside by Nell as he scrambled back into the net.
The Blades quickly forgot about their missed opportunity to extend their lead when a play broke down in front of the Swamp Rabbits net and the puck deflected off of Matt Berry’s shin guards and into the goal before he ran into the net knocking it off its moorings. The refs huddled and following a brief discussion, it was ruled a good goal to extend the Blades lead to 2-0.
Steven Lorentz added to the Blades lead to 3-0 at 13:11 with a beautiful move on a breakaway. Michael Kirkpatrick sprung Lorentz in behind the Greenville defense with a saucer pass. As Lorentz went in on net, he kept it on his forehand and faked a toe drag which got Nell to bite and slide to the right. Lorentz was then able to just lift the puck in on the left side.
Martin Ouellette would not be snake bitten by a late goal in this game, as he stopped all 14 shots faced to earn his fourth shutout of the season in the 3-0 victory.
GAME NOTES: Matt Berry extended his point streak to six games with his third period goal….Kyle Neuber was strong physically and on the scoresheet with a goal and an assist….The Blades outshot the Swamp Rabbits 43-14 in the victory. The 14 shots against tied a season record for fewest shots allowed in a game, which was initially set back on December 30 at Orlando…The Everblades have now reached the 100-point mark for the fifth time club history. Florida’s record for points in a single season is 108 points which was set back in the 1999-2000 season.
The Everblades continue the homestand this Friday when the Everblades battle Greenville at 7:30 p.m. Friday is Laces of Love Night! Fans are asked to bring a new pair of tennis shoes or sneakers to donate to needy teenagers and children in our area! Kids eat free in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entree. Fans can enjoy bottomless all-you-can-eat popcorn all night long.
Upcoming Home Games & EventsFriday, March 30, vs. Greenville, 7:30 p.m. Laces of Love Night! Fans are asked to bring a new pair of tennis shoes or sneakers to donate to needy teenagers and children in our area! Kids eat free in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entree. Fans can enjoy bottomless all-you-can-eat popcorn all night long!
Saturday, March 31, vs. Atlanta, 7:00 p.m. Bring your dog to the game for just $10, for Pucks & Paws Night presented by Shoppes of Estero Animal Hospital! A portion of the dog fee will be donated to local animal causes. Fans can also purchase discounted fundraising tickets for $15, with $5 of each ticket purchased being donated to the Gulf Coast Humane Society, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE. The night is also Princess & Pirates night! The team's Harley-Davidson warm-up jerseys worn this season will be auctioned off following the game!
Purchase Single Game Tickets at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, or online via Ticketmaster by CLICKING HERE
Ticket Packages are Currently on Sale! Flexible partial plans are available. These packages will best fit your schedule and budget! To view pricing and benefits of all available ticket packages CLICK HERE
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###