WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — The Florida Everblades (12-6-1-0, 25 pts.) attempt to earn five of six possible points when they face the Utah Grizzlies (7-8-2-1, 17 pts.) in the finale of a three-game set on Saturday night at the Maverik Center.
Last time outFive different players recorded multiple points, and Cam Johnson steered aside 31 shots to lift the Everblades to a 6-3 win over the Grizzlies on Friday. Trailing by one more than halfway through the second, Florida scored four times in only two minutes, 44 seconds to open up a 4-1 lead. After Utah whittled the deficit to just one goal at the 1:55 mark of the third, Florida scored two goals in only 42 seconds to seal the win. Florida's goals came from six players - Justin Auger, Hunter Garlent, Cam Maclise, Jack Nevins, Hugo Roy, and Blake Winiecki.RECAP | BOX SCORE
Series At A GlanceSaturday is just the fourth all-time meeting between the Everblades and Grizzlies and the third matchup between the two teams in Utah. Before this week, the only previous meeting came in Estero, a game the Grizzlies won, 4-3, on March 8, 2017. This is the second straight season the Everblades have paid a visit to a Mountain Division team for the first time in their franchise history. Last season, the 'Blades lone Mountain Division series was a three-game set in Rapid City, South Dakota, against the Rush, the first-ever meetings between the two teams. Florida won the series with Rapid City, 2-1.
Players to WatchBrandon Fortunato (FLA) - After missing five games due to injury, Fortunato returned to the lineup on Friday and made a big impact. The rookie defenseman registered two assists, his second multi-point game of the season, and had a hand in what proved to be the game-winning goal by Cam Maclise in the second period. Fortunato, who is under contract with the Nashville Predators, was a stellar offensive defenseman in his NCAA career and notched 76 points (16g-60a) in 142 career games.
Brandon Saigeon (UTA) – A fifth-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in the 2018 NHL Draft, Saigeon netted his first two pro goals in Friday's game against Florida. Saigeon, 21, played the last five seasons in the OHL, with a bulk of his major junior career coming with the Hamilton Bulldogs. He suited up in 304 career OHL games and posted 105 goals and 251 career points. Saigeon served as an alternate captain each of his last two years in Hamilton before being traded to the Oshawa Generals in January of the 2018-19 season.
Johnny on the SpotAlthough Florida scored twice in the third period on Friday to seal the victory, Johnson played a key role in keeping the 'Blades ahead in the final frame. He stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced in the third period to establish a new season-high for saves in a period by a 'Blades netminder. Johnson also held the previous best, a 17-save effort in the first period of a 4-2 loss to Fort Wayne on Nov. 1. With the win, Johnson extended his team season-best road winning streak to three games.
Four ScoreNot only was Friday's four-goal burst in the second period Florida's largest output in one period this season, but it was also its fastest four-goal spurt in the last two seasons. The next-fastest string of four goals came in Game 6 of the South Division Semifinals against the Jacksonville Icemen on April 22, 2019, when the 'Blades racked up four goals in 3:13. Florida hadn't scored three goals in that short of a timeframe yet this season. The Everblades' previous season-best time for three straight goals was five minutes, 32 seconds in the season opener against Norfolk on Oct. 11. Florida's first three goals in the second period on Friday clocked in at only 1:41.
Power Play Picks UpFriday night saw Florida score its first power-play goal since Nov. 16 against Atlanta, a stretch of six games and 18 chances without a goal on the man advantage. Prior to scoring on their third power play of the night against Utah on Friday, the 'Blades had gone just 1-for-39 on the power play since Nov. 6, a span of 10 games.
Next UpFlorida concludes its four-game road trip with a Wednesday night tilt in Jacksonville against the Icemen, only the second game between the two teams this season. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.
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