WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Blake Winiecki and Michael Huntebrinker both netted a pair of goals to help the Florida Everblades earn a point in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Utah Grizzlies on Wednesday night at the Maverik Center.
In the first-ever meeting between the teams in Utah, the ‘Blades (11-6-1-0, 23 pts.) battled back from a 2-0 deficit in the first and a 4-3 deficit in the third to force overtime, but Utah(7-7-2-1, 17 pts.) scored just 22 seconds into the extra session to pick up the win.
Utah struck for two goals in the first 10 minutes of the first to grab the early lead. From the bottom of the right circle, Griffen Molino slapped a one-time feed from Sasha Larocque past Everblades goaltender Ken Appleby just 4:05 into the first to give Utah a 1-0 edge. Eric Williams then made it a 2-0 advantage with a power-play goal at the 8:13 mark of the first.
Florida quickly responded to pull back within one only one minute, six seconds later on Huntebrinker’s eighth goal of the year. Standing at the left point, Logan Roe went to the right point for Ben Masella. Masella then ripped a shot that Huntebrinker deflected from the inside edge of the right circle to beat Utah goaltender Mason McDonald.
Masella then played a key part in the ‘Blades tying the game with less than five minutes left in the first. John McCarron whipped a rink-wide pass to Masella at the right half-wall, and Masella immediately located Winiecki crashing the back post. Winiecki shoveled the feed past McDonald to knot the game at two.
Winiecki pushed Florida ahead a little more than halfway through the second period on his second of the night. Masella banked a pass out of his own zone, and McCarron snatched it to create a two-on-one rush. He fed Winiecki alone out front, and Winiecki went blocker side on McDonald.
That lead was short-lived for Florida, as Utah scored with 72 seconds left in the frame to tie the game at three. Taylor Richart located Felix Lauzon alone at the back post, and Lauzon lifted the puck over Appleby’s blocker.
The Grizzlies jumped out to a 4-3 lead with a goal from Garret Klotz only 22 seconds into the third, but Huntebrinker brought the ‘Blades even with his second of the night. After Patrick McCarron ripped a shot from the near point, Alex Tonge followed the rebound and dished to Huntebrinker for the one-timer at the left side of the goal with 6:49 left in the third.
Utah won the game early in the extra session due in large part to a power play that carried over from regulation. Joe Wegwerth got the puck at the side of the net and tucked it past Appleby to give Utah its third straight overtime win.
- Winiecki’s multi-goal game was his first of the season and sixth of his pro career.
- Huntebrinker also had his first multi-goal game of the season, the sixth of his career.
- Ben Masella notched three assists to tie his career-high for points and assists in a game. He has five points (5a) over his last three games and now has four multi-point games this season.
- Florida outshot Utah by eight in the third period (12-4) and finished with a 30-28 edge in shots on goal, the 11th straight game the ‘Blades have held the edge in shots on goal. That stretch of outshooting their opponent is tied for the ‘Blades longest over the last two seasons.
- The Everblades yielded two power-play goals in a game for only the second time this year and the first time since the third game of the season.
- Wednesday was Florida’s first overtime loss since Dec. 21, 2018, a 4-3 setback against Orlando.
NEXT UPFollowing an off day for Thanksgiving, the ‘Blades resume the series on Friday with a 9:10 p.m. ET faceoff against the Grizzlies.
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