GREENVILLE, S.C. - Forward Michael Huntebrinker’s hat trick leads the Florida Everblades (27-9-0-2) to a 5-1 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (16-11-8-2). Additionally, Jake Hildebrand secured his 13th win of the season, as he stopped 26 of 27 shots.
FIRST STAR: Michael Huntebrinker (FLA) - three goals, +2, seven shots
SECOND STAR: Blake Winiecki (FLA) - 2 goals, +1, three shots
THIRD STAR: Myles Powell (FLA) - two assists, +2
For the first time this weekend, the Blades jumped onto the scoreboard first. Huntebrinker broke loose on a feed from Myles Powell. Huntebrinker went one-on-one with Greenville’s goaltender Ryan Bednard, and the forward went to his backhand to sneak the puck under the closing pad of Bednard (10:11).
Later in the first period, the Captain’s line went to work on the power play. Florida built out of their own zone beautifully with four skaters crossing the blue line simultaneously. Stefan Leblanc skated down the far flank and dished off the puck to Winiecki at the near post, who snapped a wrister past Bednard to make the score 2-0 (15:17).
The flood gates opened for Huntebrinker in the second period. On the power play early in the period, McCarron put it on a platter for Huntebrinker to hammer home for his second tally of the game (5:02). About three minutes later, Huntebrinker grabbed the first hat trick of the season for the Everblades. The play began when Huntebrinker escaped into Greenville's zone but he lost possession. Powell then quickly stole it back and found Huntebrinker for the one-timer (8:40).
With his third goal of the game, Huntebrinker grabbed his 20th tally of the season. The forward jumped his fellow teammate, McCarron, for sole possession of the top spot on the ECHL leaderboard for goals this season.
Greenville showed some signs of life late in the middle frame. Joey Haddad continued his hot streak against the Blades, as he scored a slap shot from the high slot to make it a 4-1 game (14:47).
In the third period, the Blades found the back of the net to make it a 5-1 game. At the 8:55 mark, Florida was on the counter attack, when McCarron eventually found Winiecki for an easy finish for his second goal of the game.
The Everblades return home to Hertz Arena for a trio of games against the Wheeling Nailers beginning Wednesday, Mar. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Then, the Blades will face the Nailers again Friday, Mar. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Mar. 27 at 7:00 p.m. at Hertz Arena. It will be the first time the two teams square off against each other this season. For tickets to the games, click HERE.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.