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Home cooking: 'Blades ice Jacksonville to finish homestand

Sunday, December 29th
Home cooking: 'Blades ice Jacksonville to finish homestand

ESTERO, Fla. — Hunter Garlent scored twice, and five different players had multiple points to help the Florida Everblades close out a seven-game homestand with a 6-1 thrashing of the Jacksonville Icemen on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.

BOX SCORE

Making his first start for the Everblades (19-8-2-2, 42 pts.), goaltender Tom McCollum stopped 23 shots to help Florida sweep Jacksonville (9-16-4-0, 22 pts.), a win that gave Everblades head coach Brad Ralph his 300th career ECHL victory.

The ‘Blades recent success in the first period continued, as they potted three goals in the first to take a 3-1 lead to the first intermission.  

Garlent posted his first goal of the night at 5:10 of the first when he chopped a bouncing pass from Nick Schaus past Jacksonville goaltender Michael McNiven. The ‘Blades came into the Jacksonville zone on the rush, and Blake Winiecki sent a pass through the slot to Schaus. As quickly as Schaus received it, he sent it to Garlent for the knuckling shot that gave the ‘Blades an early 1-0 lead.

Hugo Roy added his fifth goal in as many games to continue his goal-scoring streak only two minutes, 45 seconds after Garlent’s goal. The rookie forward ripped a shot from the left circle that beat the glove of McNiven to give the ‘Blades a multi-goal advantage at 7:55 of the opening period.

The Icemen hacked back within one goal on a power-play tally from Dalton Thrower. Thrower, who drew the penalty on the other end of the ice, hammered a shot through traffic in front of McCollum that found its way through the crowd and under the pad of the ‘Blades netminder.  

Florida answered the Jacksonville goal with a power-play strike of its own to reclaim a two-goal lead with 2:03 left in the first. Levko Koper started the sequence with a pass through the air at the top of the circles that Zach Magwood snagged out of the air with his glove. He passed to Joe Pendenza, who was crashing towards the net through the slot, and Pendenza deflected the puck in with a headlong dive.  

Michael Neville struck for his second goal of the season just 33 seconds into the second period to extend Florida’s lead to 4-1. Nick Schaus and Hugo Roy worked in unison deep in the Jacksonville end to force a turnover. Off the turnover, Roy set up Neville in the low slot for a one-timer that squeaked through McNiven.

Garlent scored his second of the night at 13:52 of the second to make it a 5-1 Everblades’ lead. Blake Winiecki dished to Logan Roe at the left point, and Roe hammered a slap shot on goal. McNiven fought off the initial attempt, but Garlent picked up the rebound and jammed it in to complete his first career multi-goal game.

The ‘Blades capitalized off a turnover by McNiven in the third period to score their final goal of the night. As McNiven attempted to play the puck behind his net, he turned it over to Jack Nevins, and he wrapped the puck from behind the net into the empty cage.

BLADES BITES

  • Brad Ralph earned his 300th career win as an ECHL head coach and is only the 13th coach in league history to reach that milestone.
  • The Blades have power-play goals in four of their last five games and have converted on four of their 12 power plays (33.3%) in that stretch.
  • The ‘Blades offense has been explosive in the first period as of late. In their seven-game homestand, the Everblades put up 14 goals in the opening frame.
  • Rookie Hugo Roy has goals in five straight games — the longest goal streak by an Everblades player over the last two seasons — and has eight goals and three assists in 29 games this season.
  • Florida’s offense was stellar in its seven-game homestand, scoring a total of 36 goals for an average of 5.15 goals per game.
  • The ‘Blades have scored the first goal in six of their last seven home games. Florida scored first in only one of its first 10 home games.
  • Nick Schaus (2a) registered his first multi-point game with the ‘Blades. In five games with Florida, he has three assists and a +8 plus-minus rating.   

Next UpFlorida starts a long stretch of road games with a Friday night matchup against the South Carolina Stingrays. The 'Blades are on the road for eight of their next nine games. 

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