Photo Credit Andy Camp
GLENS FALLS, NY – Martin Ouellette made 31 saves to help lead the Florida Everblades to a 3-2 victory over the Adirondack Thunder in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday evening at the Cool Insuring Arena. The Everblades win the series 4-1 and will advance to the Kelly Cup Finals for the first time since 2012. The win also secured the fourth conference championship in club history (2004, 2005, 2012, 2018).
The Everblades stormed out of the gates to jump on the Thunder early. Matt Mackenzie struck first at 2:46 into the game when he carried the puck down the slot toward the crease. However, the puck slightly tailed away from the Florida bluliner, but Mackenzie caught up with the puck to the right of the crease and hurled a shot past goaltender Drew Fielding on the shortside for the first goal of the game.
Five minutes later, the Everblades made it 2-0, when Gus Young found a wide-open Michael Kirkpatrick in front of the net. Kirkpatrick caught the puck on his forehand, spun and delivered the puck into the net for this 10th goal of the playoffs.
The Everblades added another tally on the power play at the 14-minute m. ark of the period. Mitchell Heard skated from the right wing circle and carved a backhand shot high into the net to extend the Florida lead to 3-0 after the first period of play.
In the second, the Everblades held the Thunder in check, while goaltender Martin Ouellette turned aside all 12 shots faced to keep the score at 3-0 after 40 minutes of action.
However, the dream start quickly started to fade away early in the third, when Ryan Schmelzer delivered a dazzling no-look pass across the slot to Mike Szmatula on the left wing. Szmatula tucked the puck past Ouellette to get the Thunder on the board at 2:39 of the period.
The goal was exactly the spark Adirondack needed, as the Thunder added a second marker on the power play ten minutes later. Colton White hammered a slapshot from the point that slipped through traffic and beat a screened Ouellette to pull the Thunder within one at 3-2.
For the final eight minutes of regulation, the Everblades and Ouellette held off a relentless assault by the Thunder. Adirondack outshot the ‘Blades 13-4 in the final stanza of regulation, but the Everblades kept them off the board and sealed the series with a 3-2 win.
Martin Ouellette was once again stellar making 31 saves, while Fielding takes the loss allowing three goals on 21 shots faced.
Following the game, the Everblades were presented the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the ECHL’s Eastern Conference Champion. Assistant Captains Clark Seymour, Stephen MacAulay and Zack Kamrass accepted the award from ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst (pictured below).
The Everblades advance to the Kelly Cup Finals for the first time since 2012, and will face the winner of the Western Conference Finals featuring the Fort Wayne Komets and Colorado Eagles. The complete Kelly Cup Finals schedule and ticket information will be announced at a later date. Fans are encouraged to visit www.floridaeverblades.comfor all of the latest information.
2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs Schedule – Eastern Conference FinalsBest-of-Seven Series (Florida wins series 4-1)
Game 1: Friday, May 11, Adirondack - 3 at FLORIDA - 4 Game 2: Saturday, May 12, ADIRONDACK - 3 at Florida - 2 (OT)Game 3: Wednesday, May 16, FLORIDA - 3 at Adirondack - 2Game 4: Friday, May 18, FLORIDA - 7 at Adirondack - 3Game 5: Saturday, May 19, FLORIDA - 3 at Adirondack - 2
2018-19 Ticket Packages are Currently on Sale! Full season as well as 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.
Purchase Single Game Playoff Tickets at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, or online via Ticketmaster by CLICKING HERE
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes###