ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades (27-10-0-2) fell 6-2 to the Wheeling Nailers (10-21-5-0) at Hertz Arena on Wednesday night. Wheeling found the back of the net twice on the power play and once shorthanded to speed past Florida.
FIRST STAR: Michael Joly (WHL) - one goal, two assists, +2, three shots
SECOND STAR: Patrick McNally (WHL) - three assists, +2, two shots
THIRD STAR: Taran Kozun (WHL) - 26 saves
The Nailers visited Estero to face the Everblades for the first time in over five years on Wednesday, and it was quickly evident that there was no love lost between the two clubs. Just two minutes into the first period, Everblades forward Kyle Neuber dropped gloves with Garet Hunt, the ECHL’s all-time leader in penalty minutes, to set the physical tone of the game.
The Nailers took advantage of two Everblades penalties with a pair of power-play goals in the first period. During the first power play of the night, Cody Sylvester scored on a well placed deflection into the top right corner to give Wheeling a 1-0 lead (7:01). Four minutes later Joshua Winquist made it 2-0 off of Patrick McNally's second assist of the night (11:06).
The Everblades fired back just a few minutes later minutes later when John McCarron sent a beautiful pass across the ice to lead Luke Nogard on the breakaway. One-on-one with Wheeling’s goaltender Taran Kozun, Nogard buried the goal in the top right corner to cut the Nailers lead to 2-1 (12:08).
Late in the second period, Wheeling’s Michael Joly cut to the low slot to score and put the Nailers up 3-1 (17:25).
Wheeling’s special teams sealed the game in the third period with a pair of goals. Austin Fyten netted a shorthanded tally on a breakaway (4:55), and then Nick Rivera scored on the power play (7:13) to make it 5-1 in favor of the visitors.
On the power play late in the third, Joe Pendenza batted in a Michael Huntebrinker pass for Florida’s second goal of the night (17:50). Pendenza’s tally on Wednesday marked his 11th of the season. Wheeling quickly responded with an Adam Smith goal to punctuate the victory for the Nailers (18:42).
The Everblades square off against the Nailers again at Hertz Arena on Friday, Mar. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Enjoy 239 Fridays! Get two premium seats, two slices of pizza, two sodas, and two autographed programs for only $39! Take advantage of the 239 Fridays online only offer at FloridaEverblades.com/239. Kids 12 and under eat free with purchase of an adult entree at Breakaway Sports Pub, located inside Hertz Arena. All frontline/essential workers receive a buy one, get one free ticket offer for all remaining Friday regular season home games. Tickets are subject to availability. Find tickets for the game on Mar. 26HERE.
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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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.