NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Joe Cox and Kyle Platzer each posted two goals and three total points to lead the Florida Everblades to a 5-3 win and series sweep over the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday night at North Charleston Coliseum.
Following a 5-3 win on Friday, Florida (37-13-5-0, 79 pts.) erased two separate one-goal deficits and scored four of the final five goals to take both games of the two-game set with the Stingrays (25-24-5-0, 55 pts.).
South Carolina grabbed the early lead on a goal off the rush by Jonathan Charbonneau just 1:42 into the first. As he raced into the offensive zone, Charbonneau pulled the trigger from the low right circle, a shot that beat Florida goaltender Jamie Phillips above the glove.
It took the Everblades just one minute, 56 seconds to tie the game as the duo of Platzer and Cox teamed up for another strike. Cox recovered possession behind the net for Florida and fed Patrick McCarron in the high slot. After McCarron ripped a slap shot, Platzer got a piece of the puck at the top of the crease and it rolled past South Carolina goaltender Parker Milner.
South Carolina wrestled the lead back in the last minute of the opening period off a two-on-one rush. Josh Gratton found Tim Harrison racing into the zone, and Harrison slipped the puck past Phillips with 47 seconds to play in the opening period.
A goaltender interference call with just more than five minutes left in the second washed out a Florida goal that would have tied the game, but the ‘Blades scored later in the period to tie the game anyway. Again, it was Platzer that stepped up to even the score. Off a defensive zone faceoff, Florida raced the other way with Platzer leading the rush. He tracked down a rebound in the low slot after an initial attempt from Michael Neville and shoveled it in with 1:06 left in the middle frame.
Florida then snatched the lead just 44 seconds into the third period. Cox forced a turnover along the far goal line and then scored as he crossed through the front of the crease from right to left, putting the puck upstairs on Milner while on his backhand.
The back and forth nature of the game continued, and South Carolina evened the score at three just 74 seconds after Florida had surged ahead. Jordan Samuels-Thomas snapped a shot off from the right circle that beat Phillips above his blocker.
But Florida took just 1:28 to gain the lead back once more. Defenseman Logan Roe ripped a shot through traffic from the near point that beat Milner low on his blocker side to make it a 4-3 Florida edge.
On the heels of a breakaway save by Jamie Phillips on South Carolina’s Tim Davison, Cox then added insurance on a breakaway of his own. Cox shoveled the puck out of the zone, won the foot race to the puck, and slid the puck around Milner on his forehand after a deke to his backhand.
Phillips earned his 19th win of the year with a 30-save effort.
Florida now stares down a stretch of four games over five days this coming week, a stretch that starts with a Wednesday night matchup against the Orlando Solar Bears at the Amway Center in Orlando. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
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