ESTERO, Fla. — Joe Pendenza scored twice, and Ken Appleby stopped 32 shots as the Florida Everblades shut out the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, 4-0, on Friday night at Hertz Arena.
Playing on home ice for the first time since Jan. 7, Florida (26-11-2-2, 56 pts.) scored twice against Greenville (22-20-1-1, 46 pts.) in the first period to capture its fourth straight win.
Florida started the scoring for the seventh time in its last nine home games with a goal by Pendenza just 3:01 into the first. Hunter Garlent started the rush into the offensive zone and dropped the puck with Michael Huntebrinker in the left circle. Huntebrinker zipped it to the right circle for Pendenza, and he whizzed it past the short side of Greenville goaltender Jeremy Helvig.
Florida then pushed its lead to two on a strange carom in the offensive zone. Cam Maclise won the draw to his right and the puck deflected off Greenville defenseman Dylan MacPherson and past Helvig with 11:44 left in the first.
Catching Greenville on a line change, Florida managed to take advantage of an odd man rush to stretch its lead to three. Brandon Fortunato fired a stretch pass to Garlent at the Greenville blue line, and Garlent immediately located Levko Koper breaking to the net. Koper picked up the pass and went through Helvig’s five-hole from his backhand with 5:36 left in the second.
The ‘Blades finished the scoring with a power-play goal from Pendenza with less than six minutes to play in the game. He picked up the puck in the deep slot and hammered a drive through Helvig.
As part of his second shutout of the season, Appleby made 16 of his 32 saves in the third period to earn his 18th win of the year.
- Florida’s 2-0 lead after the first period was the third time in its last four games that it led by multiple goals after the opening frame. The ‘Blades have accomplished that on five occasions at home and nine times total this season. Florida is 9-0-0-0 in such games.
- The ‘Blades scored first for the seventh time in their last nine home games. Florida posted the first goal in just one of its first 10 home tilts. The ‘Blades are 6-2-0-0 when scoring first at home.
- Appleby has started in 19 of the last 24 games and has posted 11 wins in that stretch. He is tied for the league lead with 18 victories.
- Hunter Garlent finished with a career-high three points (3a).
- Joe Pendenza’s two-goal night was his fourth multi-point game of the season and first multi-goal outing.
- Florida was outshot for the first time since Dec. 14. Greenville had a 32-27 edge in shots on goal.
NEXT UPFlorida wraps up the weekend with a Saturday night matchup against the Jacksonville Icemen. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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