ESTERO, Fla. — Zach Magwood scored twice in the second period, Michael Huntebrinker chipped in a season-high three assists, and the Florida Everblades took a 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Mavericks on Friday night at Hertz Arena.
In only the third all-time meeting with Kansas City, Florida (15-7-1-2, 33 pts.) scored twice only 10 seconds apart in the opening 92 seconds to top Kansas City (10-12-2-0, 22 pts.) for its third straight win.
Levko Koper lit the lamp first for the ‘Blades with his first goal of the season. Arvin Atwal started the rush when he picked up the puck outside the Kansas City bench and went under the stick of a Mavericks player to find free ice in the offensive end. As he cut to the right side of the ice, he slid a pass to Koper on the back door for the tap in at the 1:22 mark of the first.
Joe Pendenza extended the ‘Blades lead only 10 seconds later a similar turn of events from the opposite side. After Pendenza won the faceoff at center ice, Brandon Fortunato quickly distributed the puck to Hunter Garlent who then found Michael Huntebrinker racing down the left wing. Mavericks goaltender Nick Schneider stopped Huntebrinker’s try, but Pendenza snatched the rebound and punched it home.
Magwood struck for his first of the night, his sixth goal of the season, more than halfway through the middle frame. Magwood’s stretch pass found Michael Huntebrinker in the middle of the ice, and he raced across the Mavericks line. With pressure around him, Huntebrinker then dropped to a wide-open Magwood, and he roofed the puck over Schneider with 11:54 gone in the second for a 3-0 advantage.
Kansas City whittled its deficit to two on Rocco Carzo’s goal at the 14:32 mark of the second, but Magwood gave Florida the momentum back by scoring with just 30 seconds left in the period. A quick defensive stick check by Huntebrinker sent the puck out into the neutral zone for Magwood to grab, and he started a two-on-one with Hunter Garlent. Making a quick glance at Garlent, Magwood caught Schneider looking and rifled the puck under his blocker arm to reinstate Florida’s three-goal lead.
Kansas City was pesky in the third period and scored twice to get within one goal of the ‘Blades, with its goals coming from Bryan Lemos and Cliff Watson.
Justin Auger capped the victory with an empty-net tally in the last 30 seconds, his 10th goal of the season, to hold back the Mavericks’ comeback attempt.
Ken Appleby earned his 10th victory of the season as he stopped 25 of 28 shots.
- The ‘Blades first goal at 1:22 of the first period was their fastest goal to start a game. Florida’s previous best was a tally 2:29 into a 4-1 win at Atlanta on Nov. 16.
- The Everblades' fastest pair of goals in each of the past two seasons have both come against Mountain Division teams. Last season, the ‘Blades scored two goals in seven seconds against the Rapid City Rush on Jan. 16, 2019. On Friday, the ‘Blades scored two goals 10 seconds apart, their fastest consecutive goals of the season.
- Joe Pendenza has goals in back to back games after being sent down to the ‘Blades on Wednesday by their AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.
- Zach Magwood’s two-goal game was the first multi-goal game by a ‘Blades player on home ice since Alex Tonge and Sam Warning each had two goals on March 30, 2019, against the Norfolk Admirals.
- The ‘Blades didn’t produce their normal barrage of shots against the Mavericks, but they did produce a very impressive shooting percentage. Florida scored its first two goals on two shots and finished the game with five goals on 17 shots (29.4%).
- Michael Huntebrinker matched the ‘Blades season-high with three assists and three points.
NEXT UPFlorida is back at home for one of the most anticipated games of the regular season, as the 'Blades finish their series against the Kansas City Mavericks on Teddy Bear Toss presented by Synovus.
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