ESTERO, Fla. -- The Everblades strung together four consecutive goals on Friday night for a 4-3 overtime win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in Game One, Round One of the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Greenville came onto the Hertz Arena ice quickly looking to make a statement against the top-seeded Blades. Christian Kasastul blasted in his slapshot off a draw at 8:59 of the first period for a 1-0 Swamp Rabbits lead. Nikita Pavlychev doubled the advantage 40 seconds later on a pass from Liam Pecoraro behind the net. The Swamp Rabbits concluded the first period with an exclamation point from Ayden McDonald (14:52) as the score read 3-0 Greenville at the intermission.
The second period’s only goal went in favor of the Everblades. At 15:01, Stefan Leblanc’s chance from the blue line dodged traffic and hit the twine to reduce Florida’s deficit to 3-1. The tally was assisted by Blake Winiecki and Jake Jaremko on the Blades’ third power play attempt of the game. The shots on net column remained even keeled after 40 minutes with Greenville narrowly leading 24-22.
After 18 minutes of scoreless hockey in the third period, Joe Pendenza (18:40) pulled the Blades within one for the team’s second goal on the man-advantage. Leblanc and Pendenza registered assists for their second respective points of the evening. In typical fashion, the team climbed all the way back to force overtime at 3-3. With 35 seconds on the clock, Matteo Gennaro pulled up between the circles and buried the puck past Greenville’s John Lethemon.
All it took was two minutes and five seconds of extra action for captain John McCarron to swat in the game winning goal and send the Blades to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Everblades and Swamp Rabbits will meet again for Game 2 of the first round tomorrow, April 23 at Hertz Arena. Fans can join us for our Saturday tailgate featuring live music from 5-7pm! The action begins at 7:00pm and tickets can be purchased HERE.
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2022 Kelly Cup Playoff Tickets are now on sale. Join the Blades in their pursuit for a second Kelly Cup title! To learn more, call or text (239) 948-7825 or purchase HERE.
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 2022-23 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.