Kevin Bires Photography
Written by Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, FL – Gus Young’s goal at 8:28 into overtime guided the Florida Everblades to a dramatic 7-6 victory over the Colorado Eagles in Game 4 of the Kelly Cup Finals played Friday night at Germain Arena. The best-of-seven series is now tied at 2-2.
WATCH all seven of Florida’s goals by CLICKING HERE
Nearly 12 minutes into the first period, the ‘Blades got on the board first courtesy of a coast-to-coast jaunt from Justin Kea. Kea began back at his own blue line where he one handed the puck past one Eagle defender which caused a two Eagle defenders to run into one another. Kea then flew through the neutral zone as he went past another Eagle before cutting between the final two defenders and eventually to the net where he slipped a shot through Cannata’s five-hole for the first goal of the game in an incredible individual effort.
The Everblades took a two-goal lead off of a faceoff from Stephen MacAulay to Spencer Smallman who got a piece of the puck and an Eagle’s player waved at it in the slot back before MacAulay was able to bat it past Cannata for the goal to make it 2-0 with 4:01 to play in the 1st period. Heading into the first intermission the ‘Blades held a 2-0 lead over the Eagles.
Matt Register brought the Eagles within one at 8:30 of the second period with a power play tally. After a stretch pass gone wrong that was stolen in the neutral zone. Michael Joly set up in the offensive end and sent a pass back to the blue line where Register was entering the zone with speed. Register wound up a one-timer that beat Ouellette on the blocker side to make it a 2-1 game.
The Eagles tied it at 2-2 with a shorthanded goal from Matt Garbowsky at 10:48 of the period. The Everblades got tied up along the boards near the blue line in the Eagles end, and Nicolas Meloche collected the puck and sent it to Garbowsky who had snuck in behind the Florida defense for the breakaway. Garbowsky made a quick forehand to backhand move and put it past the pad of Ouellette.
Moments later, the Everblades were quick to answer with a goal of their own on the tail end of the power play. Matt McKenzie received a pass from Mitchell Heard and promptly rocketed towards the net. Joe Cox was stationed in the slot and he redirected the puck down low past Cannata to regain the lead for the Blades with 8:18 to play in the second period.
The ‘Blades regained a two-goal lead thanks to Mitchell Heard’s tally at 14:54 of the middle frame Heard shot the puck from an odd angle at the lower edge of the circle that beat the blocker of Cannata on the shortside to make it a 4-2 game.
Heard wasn’t done scoring in the second period. Heard stole the puck and went the other way. As he entered the zone he had a 2-on-1 with MacAulay and he shot a puck that bounced up in the air behind Cannata that would sit on the goal line. Heard reached from behind the net and shoved the puck off of Cannata and over the line to give the Blades a 5-2 lead with 17.3 seconds remaining in the period. Florida took a 5-2 lead into the second break.
Florida came out of the intermission with the same fire it entered, as Stephen Lorentz scored 1:13 into the final frame of regulation to put Florida in front 6-2. Lorentz picked up the puck center ice and cut like a hot knife through butter straight through the Eagles’ defense and flipped the puck over Sam Brittain, who came into the crease in relief of Joe Cannata at the start of the third.
The Eagles brought it to 6-3 with 9:02 to play in third at the end of a power play. The Eagles came into the zone and Cliff Watson was able to get to the hash marks on the circle and he wristed a shot past Ouellette’s blocker for the goal.
The ‘Blades got into penalty trouble late in the game, and Eagles capitalized. Mitchell Heard was assessed a major penalty which was cut to three minutes time with a minor handed to Colorado’s Ryan Olsen. During the ensuing Eagles power play, Dave Dziurzynski took a hooking penalty as well to put the Eagles up on a 5-on-3. Seconds later, Matt Register brought the Eagles within two goals, with a shot from the point that beat Ouellette on the blocker side making it a 6-4 game with 3:12 to play.
Just 21 seconds later, and with the goalie pulled to give the Eagles a 6-on-4 advantage, the Eagles got the puck to J.C. Beaudin who tapped in a rebound during a scramble in front to make it 6-5.
The Eagles managed to tie it on their fifth power play goal of the night with 1:58 left to play and with the goaltender pulled once again. Joey Ratelle finished off a tic-tac-toe play in the slot, with the goal that tied the game at 6-6. The four-goal comeback sent the game into overtime for the second time in as many games in the series.
Florida had to open overtime killing off 1:54 of penalty time, but was able to complete the task. This helped the ‘Blades to settle down and get back to playing their game. Florida finally received the chance they were looking for at 8:28 into the extra session. Following a faceoff win by Justin Kea, Gus Young swung around the forward challenging him up high, and cut inside the right wing circle. Young hurled a shot that slipped underneath Brittain for the game-winning tally and secure a dramatic 7-6 victory for the Everblades in Game 4.
The series is now tied at 2-2, setting up a pivotal Game 5 at Germain Arena Saturday night (June 2). Tickets are available on Ticketmaster or at the Florida Community Bank Box Office at Germain Arena which will open at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.
2018 Kelly Cup Finals ScheduleAll times Eastern; Best-of-Seven Series (Series tied 2-2)
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 at Florida 7:00 p.m. (Germain Arena) PURCHASE TICKETSGame 6: Wednesday, June 6, Florida at Colorado, 9:05 p.m. (Budweiser Events Center)Game 7: Saturday, June 9, Colorado at Florida, 7:00 p.m. (Germain Arena)**** If Necessary
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###