ESTERO, Fla. – The Florida Everblades (19-10-3-3) came up short on Monday afternoon, dropping a 4-2 decision to the host Atlanta Gladiators (19-14-2-1), but Captain Everblade John McCarron was the story, making franchise history and claiming the Blades’ career point-scoring record all for himself.
With time running out in the second period and the score tied at 1-1, McCarron took a pass from Jordan Sambrook deep in the Blades’ defensive zone. Captain Everblade skated the length of the ice in a race against the clock, and with under two seconds left in the period, snuck home his 16th goal of the season to snap the tie and become the Florida Everblades’ all-time leading point scorer. McCarron’s tally gave him 366 career points in a Blades sweater, including playoffs, and 320 career regular-season points, to move past Reggie Berg in both categories, marks Berg has held since 2007.
Rewinding to the beginning of the hard-fought contest, neither team managed to convert in a busy first period. Both teams recorded 13 shots on goal, while the Blades came up short on two power-play opportunities. Atlanta failed to convert on their only man advantage of the game’s first 20 minutes.
As difficult as it was for either side to break through in the opening period, the first few minutes of the middle frame were a different story, as both teams got on the board soon after the opening draw. Just 21 seconds into the period, Atlanta’s Kameron Kielly cracked open the lid with his eighth goal of the season thanks to assists from Mitchell Hoelscher and Luke Nogard.
The Gladiators’ 1-0 lead would be short-lived, however, as Florida’s Chris McKay knotted the score at 1-1 at the 3:14 mark with his third goal of the season. Kyle Neuber and Michael Neville earned assists for the Everblades. The 1-1 deadlock appeared as if it would remain intact for the remainder of the second frame, but McCarron’s historic score gave the good guys a 2-1 lead with two seconds left in the period.
Unfortunately, Florida’s 2-1 lead would not hold for long, as Elijah Vilio knotted the game at 2-2 just 1:39 into the third period with his fifth marker of the season, with helpers being credited to Hoelscher and Kielly.
Vilio would strike for a second time, banging home his sixth of the year at 6:48 of the third to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead. Hoelscher picked up his third assist of the game, while veteran Mike Pelech also recorded an assist.
Vilio closed out a natural hat trick with his seventh goal of the year, scoring an empty-net goal with 22 seconds left on the clock to seal the 4-2 victory.
Tomas Vomacka registered 30 saves in his return to the Everblades lineup, while Chris Neil made 35 saves for the Gladiators (19-14-2-1).
Following tonight’s ECHL All-Star Classic featuring the Everblades’ Blake Winiecki, the ECHL’s leading point scorer, the Blades will enjoy the leaguewide All-Star Break. Both the Everblades (19-10-3-3) and Gladiators will return to action at Hertz Arena for a pair of games on Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22. The two-game set will feature some outstanding promotions.
During each Friday home game of the 2021-22 season, fans can enjoy the action with a 239 ticket package, which pays tribute to Southwest Florida's area code and provides a great deal! You get two premium seat tickets, two autographed programs, and two Rum Buckets for just $39! Additionally, the first 1,000 fans in attendance this Friday will receive an Everblades tumbler courtesy of Millennium Physician Group. To purchase tickets, visit HERE.
And on Saturday, join us for First Responder Night presented by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Cape Coral Professional Firefighters and enjoy a special tribute to our first responders. Also, enjoy live music from TC Carter from 5-7 pm during our Saturday tailgate. Secure your tickets for the weekend by visiting HERE.
Make plans to be a part of the action and purchase tickets for all future Everblades games HERE.
Read more about the Blades’ busy promotional schedule and great deals HERE.
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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 Voucher 12 package that allows you to use 12 tickets in any quantity during the 2021-22 season to earn the exclusive benefits of being a Blades 365 Member! To view the Blades 365 Membership savings, benefits and options click HERE.
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 the 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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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.