ESTERO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades overcame a three-goal deficit, but the Jacksonville Icemen scored in the first 90 seconds of the third period and held on thereafter for a 4-3 win on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
Trailing 3-0 in the early stages of the second, the Everblades (7-4-0-0, 14 pts.) bounced back and scored three times in eight minutes to even the score, but Jacksonville (2-5-2-0, 6 pts.) tallied 1:06 into the third to snap Florida’s four-game home winning streak.
The Icemen got out to a two-goal lead in the first period with goals from Bobby Lynch and Chase Lang in the first 12 minutes of the period. Lynch cashed in his first career goal at the 5:06 mark of the first, firing a wrist shot past the short side blocker of Everblades goaltender Cam Johnson to give the Icemen the lead. Lang then jammed a rebound past Johnson with 11 minutes, 14 seconds gone in the first to extend the Icemen’s advantage to two.
Lang added his second of the night only 1:12 into the second to push Jacksonville’s lead to three. Capitalizing on a loose puck after a collision between a ‘Blades player and an official, Lang stole the puck and wheeled back the other way on a breakaway. He took it to his backhand before lifting the puck over Johnson.
Justin Auger brought the ‘Blades back within two goals at 8:05 of the second period with a dazzling individual effort. Using his large frame, Auger took the puck in the left circle, dragged it through the slot and leveraged his long reach to stretch the puck around Icemen netminder Adam Carlson for his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
Everblades captain John McCarron trimmed the deficit to one at the 13:31 mark of the second. As the ‘Blades cycled in the offensive zone, McCarron snuck away into the bottom of the right circle. Blake Winiecki fired a shot from the left circle that glanced off Carlson, and McCarron picked it up in the right circle and zipped it into the vacated net.
Hunter Garlent tied the score with four minutes to play in the second on his first career goal. On the heels of Florida’s power play expiring, defenseman Brandon Fortunato found Garlent in the left circle, and he ripped a blast upstairs on Carlson.
But the Icemen regained the lead with another early goal in the third period, a tally that held up as the game-winner. Alexis D’Aoust pounced on a rebound opportunity that bounced into the slot, and he chipped it over Johnson, who was sprawled out on the ice.
Carlson picked up his first win of the season for the Icemen with a 29-save effort in his debut with the team. Johnson fell to 2-3-0-0 on the season and turned away 25 shots.
- John McCarron extended his point streak to six games (3 G, 6 A) with his second multi-point game of the homestand (1 G, 1 A).
- The ‘Blades line of John McCarron, Justin Auger and Blake Winiecki contributed two goals and five points in the game. The trio has combined for 14 goals and 18 assists this season.
- The ‘Blades penalty kill finished the night 2-for-2 and has converted on 11 of its last 12 chances over the last five games.
- Saturday was Florida’s first one-goal loss of the season. Entering the night, they were one of only two undefeated teams in the ECHL in one-goal affairs.
- Jacksonville’s regulation win was its first-ever such victory in Estero. The Icemen entered the night with a 13-0-1 record at Hertz Arena.
- Prior to Saturday’s loss, the Everblades 4-0-0-0 start at home was tied with the 1999-00 squad for the second-best home start in team history. Florida’s best home start was 6-0-0-0 in 2007-08.
NEXT UPFlorida closes its four-game homestand with a Wednesday matchup against the Orlando Solar Bears. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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