JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — John McCarron and Joe Cox both posted two goals as the Florida Everblades scored the final five goals of the game in a 5-1 win over the Jacksonville Icemen on Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Arena.
In the middle game of three straight tilts between the two teams, Florida (30-8-5-0, 65 pts.) got an 18-save performance from Jamie Phillips to become the first ECHL team to 30 wins this season.
Jacksonville (23-18-1-1, 48 pts.) struck for the first goal for the sixth time in nine meetings between the two teams this year. With time winding down on the Icemen’s first power play of the night, Eli Lichtenwald tracked down a rebound in the low slot and shoveled the puck past Phillips on the ensuing net-mouth scramble at the 5:29 mark of the opening frame.
But the Everblades knotted the score on the 19th goal of the season from their No. 19, Kyle Platzer, less than 90 seconds into period two. As Platzer recognized the chance for an odd-man rush, Michael Neville helped spring him on a two-on-one with a breakout feed from the far wall of the ‘Blades defensive zone. Platzer raced out of his own zone and then ripped a shot from the left circle past the blocker of Jacksonville goaltender Mikhail Berdin.
Captain John McCarron then scored two straight to give the ‘Blades their first lead of the game. Derek Sheppard created the first scoring sequence, attempting to jam the puck past Berdin at the far post. Although Berdin kept out the initial chance, the puck trickled along the goal line and McCarron tapped it in with nine minutes, 40 seconds gone in the middle frame.
McCarron scored again, finding twine on a shorthanded breakaway with 4:09 to play in the second. The third-year ‘Blades forward raced to a loose puck in the neutral zone, sped past both Jacksonville players, and then beat Berdin glove side from the slot.
Florida scored off another odd-man rush, this time a three-on-one opportunity, to bump the lead to three a little more than three minutes into the third. From the right wing, McCarron fed Joe Cox in the slot, and Cox buzzed it past Berdin to make it a 4-1 score.
On arguably the prettiest goal of the night, Cox finished the scoring with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation to cap his fifth multi-goal game of the year. Cox forced a turnover in the far corner of the offensive zone, angled to the front of the net, pushed it around Berdin, and slide it home while on his knees for his 19th tally of the year.
With an assist, McCarron posted a three-point game to pace the ‘Blades offense.
Phillips was at his best in the opening period, stopping 12 of the 13 shots he faced to keep the Everblades down by just one heading to the first intermission. His win was his 16th of the season.
Florida returns home to wrap up the three-game set with Jacksonville on Tuesday at 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 tote bag!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