ESTERO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades exploded for four goals in the first period as they took down the Greenville Swamp Rabbits by a 5-2 score on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
In the second game of a two-game set with the Swamp Rabbits (14-14-0-1, 29 pts.), the Everblades (17-8-2-2, 38 pts.) scored two goals in the first 76 seconds of the game to help them coast to their fifth victory in their past seven games.
Hugo Roy kicked off the scoring in a hurry with a goal 57 seconds into the first period. As the ‘Blades entered the zone, Roy positioned himself outside the crease. From behind the goal line, John McCarron fed Roy, and he chipped the puck over the glove of Greenville goaltender Jeremy Helvig, who played for Florida last season.
Florida’s second goal came just 19 seconds later when Levko Koper found a seam in the Swamp Rabbits’ defense off the center ice faceoff. Zach Magwood hit Koper with a tape-to-tape pass, and Koper came in all alone on Helvig before lifting a wrist shot over his outstretched pad.
The ‘Blades tacked another at 10:26 of the first with Magwood’s fifth goal in his last five games. Deep in the Swamp Rabbits end and buzzing, the ‘Blades worked a cycle that allowed Koper to return the favor to Magwood. He zipped a pass to Magwood in prime real estate in the slot for a one-timer to beat Helvig on the blocker to extend the lead to 3-0.
Arvin Atwal added a fourth goal with 12 seconds to play in the period. He started his coast-to-coast goal from behind the Everblades’ net and finished it with a snapshot over the blocker shoulder of Helvig from inside the right circle to cap Florida’s highest-scoring first period of the season.
A hectic situation just past the midway point of the second period almost gave the Swamp Rabbits their first goal of the game when a shot went off the back of Appleby, but the puck stayed out. On the ensuing scramble for the rebound, Greenville’s Patrick Bajkov seemed to have a wide-open net, but Magwood whacked his shot out of midair with the blade of his stick to keep Florida up 4-0.
The Swamp Rabbits got their first goal of the game with 56 seconds to play in the second period. A shot from Adam Rockwood at the top of the left circle found twine, as Appleby’s vision was impaired by a screen in front by Adam Larkin.
Justin Auger helped the ‘Blades regain their four-goal lead with 7:50 to play in the third period. Helvig couldn’t control Blake Winiecki’s shot from the slot, and the rebound bounced to the tape of Auger for the tap-in.
The Swamp Rabbits added a power-play goal in the last 100 seconds of regulation on a redirected shot in the slot from Nathan Perkovich.
- Everblades rookie Hugo Roy extended his goal-scoring streak to three games, tying the team season-high.
- Making his eighth straight start, Appleby finished with 19 saves to earn his 12th win of the season. He is now 5-2-1-0 in that eight-game stretch. No other ‘Blades’ goalie has started in eight consecutive games in the last three seasons.
- After scoring the first goal just once in their first 10 home games, the ‘Blades have tallied first in four of their last five home tilts.
- Florida has racked up 24 goals in its last five home games. The ‘Blades had only five goals in their previous four home games prior to this current five-game run.
- Justin Auger has scored in every other game since Dec. 7 and has four goals in that seven-game stretch.
- Zach Magwood picked up his team-leading seventh multi-point game with a goal and an assist and has produced five goals and three assists in his last five games.
Next UpThe Everblades continue their seven-game homestand with a two-game series against the Jacksonville Icemen next Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27-28.
BLADES 365 MEMBERSHIPS Blades 365 Memberships are still on sale for the 2019-20 season! Get great seat locations, big savings and exclusive year-round experiences with a full season, 24-game or 12-game Blades 365 Membership!
Purchase a new Blades 365 Membership for the 2019-20 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford’s Garage and an Everblades tote bag! To view the Blades 365 Membership savings, benefits and options CLICK HERE.
SWAMPEE'S STOCKING STUFFERGet a 12-game voucher package, an autographed game program, autographed hockey sock, an Everblades clear bag, an Everblades mug, and a $20 Ford's Garage gift card starting as low as $156! FOLLOW THE 'BLADESStay up to date with all the latest in news, scores, and promotions by following the 'Blades on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and AHL's Milwaukee Admirals