GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Florida Everblades (26-9-0-2) had a slow start in their matchup against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (16-10-8-2), but Florida eventually fought back and grabbed a 3-2 overtime win.
FIRST STAR: Blake Winiecki (FLA) - game winning OT goal, two shots, +2
SECOND STAR: Jacob Ingham (GRN) - 35 saves on 38 shots
THIRD STAR: Joey Haddad (GRN) - two goals, four shots
Both teams had ample opportunities throughout the first period, but eventually the Swamp Rabbits struck first. On a transition from a turnover, Greenville forward Joey Haddad grabbed a short-handed tally, and then he beat Jake Hildebrand with a midrange slap shot (12:09).
Florida and Greenville played to a scoreless middle frame. The Everblades outshot the Rabbits in the second period 10-6, and killed off two power-play opportunities for Greenville.
The final period began with a 5-on-3 opportunity favoring the Swamp Rabbits. Florida killed off both penalties without any damage. However, the Rabbits would later extend their lead to 2-0 on the power play at the 5:29 mark. Greenville gained possession off of the faceoff in the Blades defensive zone. Joey Sadek found Haddad near the right circle, who ripped a one-time shot into the back of the net.
The Blades finally broke down Greenville’s defense on the power play to bring the game within one score. Florida strung together a couple of passes to shift the Rabbits defense and create an opening. Defenseman Colby Sissons found a wide open Joe Pendenza on a backdoor pass, and Pendenza tapped it in to finish the play (8:35).
In dramatic fashion, the Everblades took Hildebrand off of the ice to push forward with a 6-on-5 advantage. With about 16 seconds left in the match, Myles Powell found Sissons at the point, where he hammered a one-time shot past Greenville goaltender Jacob Ingham to send the game to overtime (19:44).
The Blades rolled into overtime with momentum on their side. After about two minutes of play, Powell took the puck the length of the ice and down the wing, where he eventually centered it to Blake Winiecki. The forward picked the top left corner and found the back of the net to lift the Blades over the Swamp Rabbits (2:30).
Florida and Greenville will square off for a third time on Sunday, Mar. 21 at 3:05 p.m. Tune into the action at FloHockey.TVor listen inon WJBX News, Talk & More on 104.3 FM, 101.5 FM and AM 770, plus online at wjbxnewstalk.com.
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.