Kevin Bires Photography
Written by Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, FL – Gabriel Verpaelst scored with 2:29 remaining in regulation to lift the Colorado Eagles to a 3-2 victory over the Florida Everblades in Game 7 of the Kelly Cup Finals at Germain Arena Saturday night. The Eagles win the Kelly Cup for the second consecutive season.
Spencer Smallman scored the all-important first goal of the game 8:43 into the first period for the 'Blades. Smallman received a pass from Michael Kirkpatrick just over the middle of the ice and turned on the after burners as he blew past both defenders for an open shooting lane. Smallman wristed a laser of a shot past the blocker of Cannata to make it a 1-0 game for the 'Blades.
At the end of the first period Spencer Smallman’s big goal gave the Everblades a 1-0 lead to take to the intermission.
Michael Joly tied the game at 1-1, with 5:41 to play in the second period. After a faceoff win, the ‘Blades couldn’t get ahold of the puck at the blue line and Joly took advantage as he went back the other way on a breakaway. As he closed in on Ouellette, he made quick fake to his forehand then went back to his backhand for a shot top shelf over Ouellette.
At the end of the second period both teams entered the intermission tied 1-1.
The 'Blades regained the lead at 6:15 of the third on a play started in the Everblades end following with a great defensive play by Matt Mackenzie. Florida had fallen into a 3-on-1 rush against and Mackenzie was the only defenseman back. Mackenzie made a stellar poke on the puck and sent the ‘Blades back the other way on the Blades odd man rush of their own. Sam Warning sent a perfect saucer pass over the stick of Eagles defender Nicolas Meloche directly to John McCarron’s stick as he slammed it into the back of the net.
On a failed clear by the Everblades, the Eagles were able to keep the puck in the zone after a fortuitous bounce off the glass that bounced directly to Travis Barron at the low circle. Barron sent an odd angle shot that snuck past Ouellette and the post. With 9:15 to play in the third to tie the game once again.
The Eagles took the lead on a shorthanded tally with 2:29 to play. They broke in on a 3-on-2 rush despite being a man down and Gabriel Verpaelst from the left circle and wired a shot on net that beat Martin Ouellette to make it 3-2.
Florida pulled Ouellette with a little over a minute to play for the extra attacker to try and get back in the game. However, the ‘Blades were unable to get the tying goal to force overtime and their season came to an end as the Eagles secured the 3-2 win and repeat as Kelly Cup Champions.
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2018 Kelly Cup Finals ResultsAll times Eastern; Best-of-Seven Series (Colorado Wins Series 4-3)
Game 1: Friday, May 25, Florida - 1 at COLORADO - 3Game 2: Sunday, May 27, FLORIDA - 4 at Colorado - 3Game 3: Wednesday, May 30, COLORADO - 5 at Florida - 4 (OT)Game 4: Friday, June 1, Colorado - 6 at FLORIDA - 7 (OT)Game 5: Saturday, June 2, Colorado - 0 at FLORIDA - 5 Game 6: Wednesday, June 6, Florida - 2 at COLORADO - 4 Game 7: Saturday, June 9, COLORADO - 3 at FLORIDA - 2
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes###