ESTERO, Fla. — In a pivotal divisional matchup Saturday night, the Florida Everblades earned a 4-2 win in a physical game against the South Carolina Stingrays at Hertz Arena.
Steven Lorentz netted a pair of goals, his first multi-goal game of the season, and Florida (11-5-4-0, 26 pts.) scored three times in the second period to push its unbeaten streak to eight games and earn five of six possible points in the three-game set with South Carolina (11-10-0-0, 22 pts.).
Lorentz got the ‘Blades on the board first at 10:34 of the first frame, a lead that Florida never relinquished. After a frenzy in front of the Stingrays’ net, Lorentz found Derek Sheppard’s rebound and went behind the goal line. He banked it off the backside of South Carolina goaltender Parker Milner, and the puck bounced over the goal line to give the ‘Blades the 1-0 lead.
The ‘Blades then scored three of the four total goals in the second period to extend their lead to three. With Florida on a three-on-two rush a mere 33 seconds into the second, Nathan Perkovich zipped a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that beat Milner over his blocker to move the ‘Blades lead to 2-0.
Everblades captain John McCarron provided the third tally of the game at the 12-minute mark of the second period. Zach Nastasiuk sent a crisp backhand saucer pass from the high slot to McCarron, who was alone at the inside of the left circle. After fanning on the original shot, McCarron went to his backhand and slipped a second try past Milner for his second goal in as many nights.
The Stingrays finally got on the board with just 2:27 left in the middle stanza to trim their deficit to two. Off a faceoff win by South Carolina, Tad Kozun hit Andrew Cherniwchan in the slot with a backhand pass that Cherniwchan one-timed past Florida’s Jamie Phillips.
But Florida responded at the end of the frame with an extra-attacker goal to reinstate the three-goal lead. With a delayed penalty coming to South Carolina, Phillips was lifted for Lorentz, who scored his second of the night off a backdoor feed from Jordon Southorn.
The Stingrays responded in the early stages of the third to bring the game back within two goals. Establishing a zone presence immediately after the puck drop, Tim Davison sent a pass from the blue line down to the right circle for Cherniwchan, who released a bullet to beat Phillips over his blocker only 18 seconds into the frame. The power-play goal for the Stingrays ended Florida’s streak of 25 straight penalties killed at home.
Phillips earned his eighth win of the season and fourth straight win at home, stopping 29 of the 31 shots fired his way. Milner suffered the loss and gave up four goals on 28 shots in 40 minutes. Gordon Defiel stopped six shots in the third period in relief of Milner.
Florida continues the six-game homestand with a Wednesday night matchup against the Jacksonville Icemen. Faceoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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