ESTERO, Fla. — Jamie Phillips made an individual season-high 36 saves and the Florida Everblades scored in every period to extend their season-high point streak to 10 games (8-0-2-0) with a 4-2 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Friday night at Hertz Arena.
Blake Winiecki and Nathan Perkovich scored in the first eight minutes of the first period, John McCarron added a power-play goal in the second period, and Perkovich sealed the win with an empty-net score in the final 20 seconds in the 'Blades third straight win.
Special teams played a big factor to help the ‘Blades (13-5-4-0, 30 pts.) earn at least one point for the ninth straight home game. Florida killed off three different five-on-three power plays — three minutes, three seconds of total time down two players — and McCarron’s power-play marker in the middle frame proved to be the eventual game-winning goal in the first meeting with the Swamp Rabbits (9-13-3-0, 21 pts.) this season.
Winiecki set the tone early for Florida, scoring his sixth goal of the year just a minute into the game for the ‘Blades fastest goal this season. After picking the puck off in the neutral zone, Winiecki chugged into the Swamp Rabbits zone and sent a pass to the left circle to Shane Walsh who curled it back to Winiecki in the left circle. Winiecki cranked a wrist shot past the glove side of Swamp Rabbits netminder Chris Nell to give Florida a 1-0 edge.
Greenville responded at 4:27 of the period to tie the game at 1-1. Off a faceoff win from Stephen Pierog, Johno May skated the puck behind the Blades’ net, wrapped it around the backside and beat a sliding Phillips for the goal.
Florida took just three minutes, 33 seconds to surge back ahead, scoring at the eight-minute mark to secure the lead for good. Following a key effort to keep the puck in the zone, defenseman Ben Masella ripped a shot from the right point that Perkovich deflected while standing in the right circle to beat Nell again on the glove side.
The Everblades added their third goal of the night just 2:37 into the second period to stretch their lead to 3-1. Derek Sheppard cranked a slap shot from the middle of the blue line, and McCarron got a piece to redirect the puck past Nell for his eighth score of the year.
The Blades’ faced their longest five-on-three situation of the night with one minute, 13 seconds to kill at the 6:40 mark of the second period. But Florida navigated through both penalties unscathed to keep hold of the two-goal lead.
The Swamp Rabbits brought the score within one with 5:54 to play in the game. After the puck was tied up in the Blades’ slot, May picked up his second goal of the night with a shot that barely clipped inside the left post on Phillips’ blocker side.
Perkovich potted his second empty-net goal in the last two games to seal the win with 17 seconds to play. That tally gave Perkovich his first multi-goal game of the season.
With the win, Phillips improved to 5-0-0 at Hertz Arena this season and has yet to allow more than two goals in any of those five starts.
Florida wraps up the six-game homestand with the series finale against Greenville on Saturday night. Saturday is the ‘Blades 20th annual Teddy Bear Toss presented by Florida Community Bank. Florida will wear special teddy bear-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game to benefit Animal Refuge Center.
Single-game tickets for all regular season home games are on sale now!Ticket packages for the 2018-19 season are still on sale! Become part of the Everblades Family with a Partial Season or a Flexible Voucher Package that fits your schedule and budget! All Ticket & Voucher Packages provide savings and special benefits! To view the Ticket & Voucher Package options CLICK HERE.SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new ticket package for the 2018-19 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford’s Garage and an Everblades T-Shirt!Private Arena Tours are also available to select your 2018-19 season seats! Call the Everblades office at 239-948-7825 to schedule your tour today!
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes