ESTERO, Fla. — Florida Everblades captain John McCarron registered three assists to reach 200 career points with the franchise, but his effort wasn’t enough in a 5-3 loss to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Friday night at Hertz Arena.
Florida (16-8-2-2, 36 pts.) entered the second period with a 2-1 lead, but Greenville (14-13-0-1, 29 pts.) scored four of the final five goals to snap a 16-game losing streak against the Everblades.
The ‘Blades wasted no time getting on the board first, scoring nine seconds into the first period. Off the opening faceoff, Swamp Rabbits goaltender Ryan Bednard went to play the puck behind the net, but the puck caromed off the glass into the slot. Hugo Roy snatched the puck and slid a backhand shot past a diving Bednard to give Florida its fastest goal to start a game this season.
Former Everblades forward Patrick Bajkov tied the game at 6:11 of the first period, but Florida responded less than a minute later to take the lead again. Patrick McCarron picked up a loose puck at the right-wing wall, carried below the goal line and rifled a centering feed out front. Michael Neville managed to deflect that pass in for his first goal of the season with 7:03 gone in the first.
The Swamp Rabbits scored twice in the second period to take a 3-2 lead into the third period. Greenville’s first tally came at 15:46 of the period when Matt Marcinew crashed the net and tipped in Nathan Perkovich’s initial shot off a zone rush. Perkovich then gave Greenville the lead on a one-time blast from the top of the right circle just a minute, 20 seconds later.
The Swamp Rabbits added another goal while on a 5-on-3 power play at the 8:58 mark of the third period. On a zone rush, Liam Pecararo carried to the outside and set up Michael Pelech in the slot for a one-time shot that beat Everblades goaltender Ken Appleby.
The ‘Blades clawed within one goal on a power-play tally of their own at 10:23 of the third. Logan Roe and John McCarron set up a play that ended on the stick of Brandon Fortunato at the point, and his slapshot blast found the back of the net.
Florida received another power play with 2:10 left in the game and then pulled Appleby for an extra attacker to make it a 6-on-4 advantage. But Greenville scored on the empty net to seal its first regulation win against Florida since the 2016-17 season.
Bednard skated away with the victory, stopping 32 of 35 shots. Appleby dropped just his fourth game in regulation, surrendering four goals on 25 shots.
- After going 11 home games without a power-play goal, the ‘Blades have now scored power-play goals in consecutive home games for the first time this season. Florida is 2-for-8 on the man advantage in that two-game stretch.
- John McCarron assisted on all three goals to bring his all-time point total with the ‘Blades to 200 and move to fifth all-time in franchise history with 115 assists. McCarron still sits one goal shy of the 100th of his ECHL career.
- Rookies Hugo Roy and Brandon Fortunato have goals in back-to-back games. Following his five-point (1g-4a) game on Wednesday, Fortunato now has six points in his last two games.
- Florida has scored first in three of its last four home games. The ‘Blades registered the first goal in only one of their first 10 home games.
- The Everblades’ two-goal first period was the second time they have put up multiple goals in the first period of a home game this season.
Next UpThe Everblades close out a stretch of four straight three-game weeks with the series finale against Greenville on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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