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Blades Win Special Teams Battle Against Nailers

Saturday, March 27th
Blades Win Special Teams Battle Against Nailers

ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades (28-10-0-2) toppled the Wheeling Nailers (10-22-5-0) with a 5-2 win at Hertz Arena on Friday night. Special teams were the story of the night with both teams recording two power-play goals and Florida netting a shorthanded tally. John McCarron, Levko Koper, and Michael Huntebrinker all turned in multi-point efforts in a game that ran close until late in the third. 

FIRST STAR: John McCarron (FLA) - one goal, two assists, +2, four shots

SECOND STAR: Levko Koper (FLA) - two goals, one assist, +3, four shots

THIRD STAR: Michael Huntebrinker (FLA) - one goal, one assist, nine shots

BOX SCORE

Wheeling led off the scoring in the first period with a power-play goal from Nick Rivera (4:13). Rivera’s tally came after the forward tipped in a point shot while stationed at the right post. 

Florida tied the game at 1-1 just over three minutes into the second period when Michael Huntebrinker scored on the power play (3:09). The chance developed after a Colby Sissons shot hit traffic in front of the net and kicked to an open Huntebrinker at the right post. Huntebrinker’s goal on the man-advantage marked his league-leading ninth power-play tally of the year. The Florida forward also leads all ECHL skaters with 21 goals on the season.

The Everblades’ special teams struck again in the second period on a shorthanded goal from Logan Roe (8:50). With Blake Winiecki in the penalty box, Koper centered a puck for Roe who lined a snap shot into the top left corner to give the Blades a 2-1 lead. Roe’s tally marked Florida’s ECHL-best 10th shorthanded goal of the season.

Despite giving up the shorthanded score, Wheeling was able to convert on the Winiecki penalty just 33 seconds after Roe’s goal. In the Florida zone, Aaron Thow threw a soft shot from the point that hit a stick in the slot. After the deflection, the puck knuckleballed over an unknowing Hildebrand and landed in the net to tie the game at 2-2 (9:23). 

The Florida power play broke through again in the third period after Wheeling’s Brady Tomlak was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Huntebrinker dismantled the Nailers’ penalty-kill unit by cutting to the slot and dishing to Myles Powell on the left circle. Powell’s subsequent wrister was stopped by Wheeling’s goaltender Shane Starrett, but McCarron buried the rebound to record his 19th goal of the season and put Florida on top 3-2 (6:43).

The Blades found themselves on the wrong end of a five-on-three late in the third. After killing off both infractions, Joe Pendenza lugged the puck into the offensive zone for Florida. Settling into the attacking end, defenseman Stefan Leblanc fired a shot from distance that Starrett stopped but could not cover. Koper jumped on the loose change and scored the rebound to give the Blades a 4-2 edge (17:17). Koper eventually tabbed another goal with an empty-netter to seal a 5-2 win for the Everblades (18:38). 

Hildebrand finished the night with 22 saves on 24 shots to earn his 14th win of the season in net for Florida.

The Everblades complete the week against Wheeling on Saturday, Mar. 27 at 7:00 p.m. at Hertz Arena. Saturday will be DC Comics and Halloween Night in March! The Blades will wear the guise of Aquaman for the night. Additionally, the Blades will be hosting a Halloween Theme night with a Swampee/Waste Pro Man bobblehead giveaway to the first 1,000 fans presented by Waste Pro USA. Fans are encouraged to dress up for a Costume Contest. The fun starts early with the Saturday Tailgate Party featuring free live music from The Freecoasters from 5:00-7:00 p.m. outside of Hertz Arena! Find tickets to the game on Mar. 27HERE.

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Become a member of the Florida Everblades family by securing a great seat location and big savings with a Blades 365 Membership!

Purchase a new Ticket Package or Flexible Voucher Package for the Blades 2020-21 and/or 2021-22 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford’s Garage along with an Everblades tote bag! To view the Blades 365 Membership savings, benefits and options click HERE.

2020-21 Kelly Cup Playoff Packages are now on sale. To view the Kelly Cup Playoff Package options click HERE

Discounted Group Packages are also available for Groups of 10 or more! To reserve your group for an upcoming home game, call or text the Everblades Front Office at (239) 948-7825.

Make it a Suite Night with the Everblades! A Luxury Suite and Party Suite are available at a limited number of Everblades home games this season. For the latest availability on Suites, call or text the Everblades Front Office at (239) 948-7825.

Everblades put the FUN in FUNdraising! There is no handling of money or tickets and no limit to the amount of money your group can make with  Everblades easy-to-run online Fundraiser! For more information, or to reserve a Fundraiser Night at an Everblades regular season home game, call or text (239) 948-7825.

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Watch every Florida Everblades game on the new home for ECHL hockey at FloHockey.TV.

Listen to the exciting game action on WJBX News, Talk & More on 104.3 FM, 101.5 FM and AM 770, plus online at wjbxnewstalk.com. In addition, some Blades Broadcasts can be heard on 99.3 ESPN or online at993espn.com.

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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.

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