TOLEDO, Ohio — Blake Winiecki scored 3:54 into overtime to cap the Florida Everblades’ come-from-behind, 4-3 overtime win over the Toledo Walleye on Saturday night at the Huntington Center.
Trailing 3-1 entering the third period of their final game of a three-game road trip, the Everblades (5-3-0-0, 10 pts.) scored twice on special teams in the final frame of regulation to force overtime before Winiecki notched his first career overtime goal in the first game against the Walleye (4-1-1-0, 9 pts.) since the 2016-17 season.
Both teams had a high-quality chance that preceded the game-ending tally by Florida. The entire sequence started with Florida’s Zach Magwood narrowly missing a one-time blast at the side of the net that translated into a zone rush for Toledo. Josh Kestner then missed the net on his shot from the right circle for the Walleye, and Magwood pushed the other way for Florida. He dished to Winiecki, who was crashing to the back post, and Winiecki slapped it past Toledo goaltender Pat Nagle for the win.
Justin Auger played a key role in the game for Florida and gave the ‘Blades the first tally of the game for the second straight night. John McCarron found Michael Downing at the left point, and Auger redirected Downing’s slap shot past Nagle at the 9:09 mark of the first.
After being dominated in the opening frame, Toledo found the back of the net three times in the second period to take the lead. Alec McCrea tied the game on a shot from the left circle that clipped Florida goaltender Ken Appleby and found its way to the back of the net three minutes, 19 seconds into the period. Tyler Spezia followed with a goal on a two-on-one rush to push the Walleye ahead around the halfway point of the second, and Shane Berschbach converted a rebound on the power play with 3:51 left in the second to make it 3-1.
But Florida found new life in the third period to pick up its first multi-goal comeback win since April 5, 2019. With Florida attempting to kill off a double minor assessed to Hunter Garlent, defenseman Jeremy Dehner helped start the comeback with a shorthanded strike. He picked the puck off at center ice and beat Nagle from the slot on the ensuing breakaway with nine minutes, nine seconds gone in the third.
The visitors then drew the score even on Auger’s second of the night — his first multi-goal game of the year — only 3:07 later. Downing hammered a shot from the deep slot, and Auger was again standing net front to catch a piece of it to make it 3-3.
Making his second start of the week, Appleby turned aside 24 shots, including two critical stops on the penalty kill in the third period, to earn his fourth win of the season.
NOTESFlorida’s win was its first in Toledo since the 2011-12 season, when the ‘Blades topped the Walleye 3-2 on Nov. 23, 2011…Winiecki’s game-winning goal was his second of the season and fifth of his career…Auger now has three multi-goal games with the Everblades over the last two seasons…Florida has trailed in all five of its wins this season and has overcome two deficits in the third period…Florida has held an edge in shots on goal in six of its eight games and has limited its opponent to less than 30 shots in five contests.
NEXT UPFlorida returns home on Wednesday to face the Orlando Solar Bears. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Hertz Arena.
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