ESTERO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades erupted for four goals in the second period, and Cam Johnson turned out 26 shots in a 6-2 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Friday night at Hertz Arena.
Facing Greenville (24-24-1-1, 50 pts.) for the seventh time in its last 20 games, Florida (31-11-3-2, 67 pts.) had five players post multiple points to increase its point streak to a season-high 10 games (9-0-1-0).
The 'Blades started the six-goal avalanche with Adam Smith's goal only 25 seconds into the opening period. Off a shot from Joe Pendenza from the right-wing, Smith managed to locate the puck at the left side of the net and one-handed it past Greenville goaltender Jeremy Helvig for his second goal of the season.
It took until the 7:14 mark of the second period for Florida to score again, but the 'Blades broke out for four tallies in less than 10 minutes to take control of the game. Michael Huntebrinker deflected in Zach Magwood's power-play pass less than eight minutes into the second to start the barrage.
In his first game back with Florida since Nov. 23, Lukas Craggs dove headlong for a rebound to shovel it past Helvig at 10:32 of the middle stanza, opening Florida's lead to 3-0. Joe Pendenza and Justin Auger then scored only 53 seconds apart to increase the Everblades' edge to 5-0 in the last five minutes of the second period.
Florida added one more tally in the third, as Auger scored off the rush only 94 seconds into the final frame of regulation. He managed to elude a stick check from Greenville defenseman Dylan MacPherson and then tucked the puck under the far corner of the net from the bottom of the left circle for his 21st goal of the year.
Greenville scored twice in the last 10 minutes of the game to spoil Johnson's otherwise stellar night. Karl El-Mir found the back of the net on a rebound from his initial breakaway at 10:13 of the third, and Jake Horton collected his seventh of the season with 1:50 remaining in the game.
- Florida scored in the opening minute of a game for the fourth time this season. Three of those goals in the first minute of a game have come against Greenville. Hugo Roy scored nine seconds in against the Swamp Rabbits on Dec. 20 and followed that with a goal 57 seconds into the game against Greenville on Dec. 21.
- The Everblades' four-goal second period was their fourth four-goal period this season. Florida last notched four goals in one period in the first frame of a 5-2 win over Greenville on Dec. 21.
- Johnson has won all three starts since returning from an injury on Jan. 25. He has stopped 96 of the 102 shots he has faced in those three starts, a save percentage of .941.
- Auger's two-goal night was his second multi-goal game of the season and fourth of his ECHL career.
- Huntebrinker's goal was his first in six games, which dated back to Dec. 14 because of 14 missed games due to injury.
- Craggs' tally was his first ECHL goal in his third career ECHL contest.
Next UpFlorida continues a stretch of five games in seven days with the series finale of the two-game set with the Swamp Rabbits on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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