ESTERO, Fla. — Hunter Garlent put up a goal and two assists, and Ken Appleby made 26 saves to extend the Florida Skunk Apes’ point streak to seven games (6-0-1-0) with a 4-1 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
Rebranded as the Skunk Apes for one night only, Florida (43-13-4-2, 92 pts.) scored four unanswered goals to beat Greenville (28-30-4-1, 61 pts.) for the eighth time in 10 meetings this season.
The Swamp Rabbits scored late in the first period to go ahead 1-0 on Brien Diffley’s first goal of the season. Shortly after entering the Skunk Apes’ zone along the right-wing boards, Liam Pecararo wired the puck through the slot. The puck went wildly off the bench-side boards, and Diffley grabbed the puck and quickly turned and knuckled it on net over the blocker of Appleby with 1:16 left in the frame.
Florida bounced back to tie the game at one 1:37 into the second frame when Michael Huntebrinker buried his own rebound from the right circle. The goal was initially waved off for goaltender interference on Garlent, who brushed Greenville goaltender Jake Kupsky as he was crossing in front of the crease. But after a video review, the call on the ice was reversed to give Huntebrinker his 20th goal of the year.
Cody Sol gave the Skunk Apes their first lead on a power-play tally at 12:53 of the second period. On a cycle high in the offensive zone, Garlent found Brandon Fortunato in the slot, and he dished to the tape of Sol high on the right circle. His one-time blast buzzed through a screen in front, and the puck’s destination was behind the blocker of Kupsky and in the back of the net.
The Skunk Apes took a 3-1 lead at 17:36 of the second period on Justin Auger’s team-leading 26th goal of the season. With the puck on the tape of Joe Pendenza in the left circle, he beelined a pass to Auger, who was streaking into the slot, for the redirection that beat Kupsky low on the blocker side.
Garlent capped off the victory 2:58 into the third period with arguably Florida’s best goal of the season. Darting down the middle of the ice, Garlent received a pass from his own zone from Darik Angeli, who had banked the puck off the boards behind a Swamp Rabbits player in the neutral zone. Garlent reeled in the puck in stride and went into the zone one-on-one before doing a complete spin and firing a shot under the far corner of the net and over the glove of Kupsky.
- The Everblades are 13-1-1 over their last 15 games at Hertz Arena.
- Darik Angeli has a point in all but one of his games in a ‘Blades jersey so far. In six games with Florida, he has two goals and five assists.
- With his second three-point game of the season, Garlent is now tied for eighth among league rookies with 44 points (17g, 27a). His 13 multi-point games are a team-high.
- The ‘Blades lead the ECHL with a +24- goal differential in the third period.
- Appleby picked up his 15th home victory and 27th win overall. His win total is second in the league. He’s now 13-1-1 in his last 15 starts.
Next UpFlorida starts the regular season's final stretch of three games in three days with a Thursday night matchup in Greenville against the Swamp Rabbits. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.
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