GREENVILLE, S.C. – Greenville’s Nikita Paylychev scored the game-winner 8:51 into double overtime to lift the Greenville Swamp Rabbits to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Everblades Saturday night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. With the setback, the Everblades lead in the best-of-seven South Division Semifinal series was trimmed to three games to two. Next up, the rivals will next head back to Hertz Arena for game six, slated for Monday, May 2 at 7:30 pm.
Eager to wrap up the opening playoff series, the Everblades came out firing and jumped out to a 1-0 lead 15:14 into the game. With the Blades on their first power-play opportunity of the night, a wide-open Stefan Leblanc drove home a long blast from the left point via the five hole to claim the early advantage. For Leblanc, it was his second goal of the postseason, while Zach Solow and John McCarron each chalked up assists for the Everblades. Florida took a 1-0 lead into the opening break, while holding 15-7 edge in shots on goal.
The Blades continued firing away in the second period, outshooting Greenville 19-1 in the frame, and extending their advantage to 2-0 on Matteo Gennaro’s fourth marker of the postseason and the Blades’ second power-play goal of the game. Gennaro ran his playoff point streak to five games thanks to timely passing from Alex Aleardi and Ben Masella, with Masella earning an assist for the third straight contest. Florida held a 34-8 edge in shots on goal through two periods.
Greenville would not go quietly, outscoring the Everblades 3-1 in the third period on a 14-9 edge in shots and forcing overtime for the third time in the five-game series.
In that busy third period, the teams exchanged two goals midway through the frame. Greenville’s Johnny Coughlin trimmed the Blades’ lead to 2-1 at the 8:52 mark, before Blake Winiecki restored the two-goal lead on the Everblades’ third power play goal of the contest at the 10:37 mark. McCarron and Solow both earned the second assists of the game as the Blades pulled ahead 3-1.
Over the final six minutes of regulation, the Swamp Rabbits answered and eventually pulled even on goals by Ayden McDonald at 14:02 and Liam Pecararo goal at 18:49, forcing overtime.
During the first 20-minute overtime period, the Everblades outshot Greenville 8-6 and had several opportunities over the final 1:07 of the period on the only power play enjoyed by either team, but could not convert.
Greenville’s Pavlychev connected for the game-winning goal on a freewheeling shot from the left circle at 8:51 of double overtime.
The Everblades outshot the Swamp Rabbits 59-32. Cam Johnson registered 28 saves for Florida, while Greenville’s John Lethemon had an extremely busy night, making 56 saves.
Next up, the Everblades and Swamp Rabbits will return to Hertz Arena for game six of the 2022 Kelly Cup South Division Semifinals on Monday, May 2 at 7:30 pm. Tickets will go on sale Sunday at 10:00 am and can be purchased HERE.
JOIN THE FUN
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.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV. Listen to the exciting game action on ESPN Southwest Florida on 770 AM, 98.1 FM, 104.3 FM and online at https://espnswfl.com or Mixlr at www.mixlr.com/florida-everblades.
The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.