NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Cam Maclise posted three points, and Ken Appleby turned out 25 shots to lead the Florida Everblades to their eighth straight win with a 5-2 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday night at North Charleston Coliseum.
Playing for the third time in four days, Florida (30-11-2-2, 64 pts.) jumped out to a 2-0 lead and held off a late rally attempt by the Stingrays (32-9-3-1, 68 pts.) to close the gap for the division lead to just four points.
Florida struck early in the first period to grab a 1-0 edge. A chance off the rush by Blake Winiecki translated into a second opportunity. Brandon Fortunato snatched the rebound in the left circle and threw it on goal. Hugo Roy then tracked down that rebound and punched it past South Carolina goaltender Logan Thompson with 2:45 gone in the first.
It took less than a minute for the ‘Blades to add to their lead at the start of the second period. Michael Downing started another zone rush for Florida, and Levko Koper got off a hard shot from between the circles. Thompson made the save, but Zach Magwood was there to hammer in the rebound 35 seconds into the middle stanza.
South Carolina’s Tariq Hammond scored only 2:37 into the third to cut Florida’s lead to one, but Maclise scored his first goal of the night in the midst of a net-mouth scramble with seven minutes, 40 seconds gone in the third to reinstate the ‘Blades two-goal lead.
With just more than two minutes to play in the third, South Carolina again cut the Everblades’ lead to one on a goal by Dan DeSalvo, as he ripped a shot over the blocker of Appleby from the right circle.
But Florida squashed South Carolina’s hope for a comeback with Maclise’s second of the night just 26 seconds later. Downing dumped the puck into the offensive zone, and Magwood tracked it down behind the goal. He found a charging Maclise in the slot, and Maclise collected the puck off his skate and lifted it over Thompson.
Hunter Garlent then finished the scoring with an empty-net goal with 33 seconds to play.
- Saturday was the third time in eight matchups with South Carolina that Florida has scored the first goal.
- Florida has notched the initial goal of the game in five of its last six contests and is now 17-3-0-1 when scoring first, including a 10-1-0-1 mark in road games.
- The Everblades’ shot total of 49 was their second-highest shot total in a game this season. Florida posted 50 shots in a 6-3 win over the Kalamazoo Wings on Jan. 15.
- Florida fired 21 shots on goal in the second period, tying their second-highest shot total for one period this season.
- The ‘Blades were last within four standings points of South Carolina on Dec. 5. However, the Stingrays had three games in hand on Dec. 5.
- Appleby extended his personal winning streak to six games, which is the longest win streak by an Everblades goaltender this season.
NEXT UPFlorida starts a four-game week with a Wednesday night matchup against the Orlando Solar Bears at Hertz Arena. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
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