JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Everblades goaltender Parker Gagahen registered a season-high 45 saves, including 20 in the third period, and Blake Winiecki scored the only goal of a shootout to lift the Blades (28-15-4-1) to a 3-2 victory over the ECHL South leading Jacksonville Icemen (30-14-2-2) Friday night at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. With their first shootout win of the season, the Everblades recorded at least one point for the seventh straight game
Both sides came out firing, combining for three goals in the first period. As the crowd of 7,833 continued to file into Vystar Veterans Memorial Area, Jake Jaremko found a wide-open net just 13 seconds into the contest to spot the Everblades a lightning-quick 1-0 lead. Jaremko’s 12th goal of the season came off a feed from the right circle with assists going to Ben Masella and John McCarron.
Just under two minutes later, with Jacksonville on their first power-play opportunity of the night, Ben Hawerchuk knocked in a carom from between the circles to knot the score at 1-1 a mere 2:03 into the game.
Eager to regain the first-period lead, Michael Neville tipped in a blast from Joe Pendenza to put the Blades ahead 2-1 at 12:02 with his third goal in the past two games. For Pendenza, the assist marked his sixth straight game with at least one point. Dylan Vander Esch also registered an assist, as he and Neville both extended their point streaks to four consecutive games. For Neville, the marker was his fourth of the season.
The teams exchanged opportunities in the second period, but the desired result was harder to come by in the middle frame. Jacksonville got the equalizer from Abbott Girduckis who converted from the low slot 7:32 into the period to knot the score at 2-2.
Throughout the third period and in overtime, goals were once again at a premium as neither team managed to score before the final whistle.
In the shootout, after Gahagen stopped the Icemen’s first attempt, Winiecki buried his opportunity, while Gahagen turned aside all the next two Jacksonville attempts to seal the win. The victory was Gahagen’s 11th of the campaign.
The current three-game road trip continues on Saturday evening, as the Everblades head to North Charleston, S.C. for the first of two games against the South Carolina Stingrays. The rivals will faceoff at 6:05 pm before the series wraps up Sunday at 3:05 pm.
After the weekend trip north, the Everblades will return to action to open a seven-game homestand on Wednesday, March 2 with a 7:30 pm tilt versus the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, the first game in a three-game series between the clus at Hertz Arena. As Southwest Florida hockey fans have come to know and love, every Wednesday home game at The Swamp features some awesome Hump Day deals, including $3 John Morrell hot dogs and Bud Light drafts. Also, college students can show a valid student ID at the Fifth Third Box Office to purchase their student ticket for only $5. Students can also purchase tickets online HERE. Read more about the Blades’ busy promotional schedule and great deals HERE.
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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.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.