ESTERO, Fla. -- The Everblades claimed the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy on Saturday night with a series-winning 6-5 overtime win over the Newfoundland Growlers at Hertz Arena. It marks the organization’s fifth Eastern Conference title and their fifth appearance in the Kelly Cup Finals.
Much like Game Three of the series, Alex Aleardi put the Blades up first and early with a tip-in from the slot 2:52 into the action. The Everblades proceeded to hound the offensive zone as Stefan Leblanc scored from the blue line at 3:21 for a 2-0 lead. Fellow defenseman Ben Masella tacked on another just 49 seconds later.
Leblanc’s assist on the Masella goal represented his third point of the evening. His successful start to the night extended his point streak to four games, totaling two goals and five helpers.
Newfoundland trimmed their deficit to 3-1 on a top shelf shot from Tyler Boland (7:13). Pavel Gogolev would go on to locate the same spot of the net at the twelve-minute mark of the opening period. The high-flying first period concluded with the Everblades holding a 3-2 edge.
After a flurry of chances throughout the second period, Derek Angeli (14:58) found twine from the near circle to make it 4-2 Blades at the 12:43 mark. Aleardi’s blast from a sharp angle made it a three-goal difference fifteen minutes into the middle frame. After a full 40 minutes, Florida dominated in shots 22-9 with their 5-2 advantage.
The third period saw the Growlers climb the mountain. It started with a rebound from the side of the net by Jeremy McKenna after 11:49. Boland’s second lamp lighter (13:57) of the evening came shorthanded and pulled Newfoundland to one at 5-4. The St. John’s native secured his hat trick and the tying mark 95 seconds afterwards. Florida held off the Growlers for the rest of regulation as overtime became necessary for the second time of the Eastern Conference Finals.
All it took was one minute of extra hockey for the Everblades to take the lead for good. Xavier Bouchard skated into the Growlers zone and fired a perfect wrist shot home for the 6-5 win.
The Everblades advance to the Kelly Cup Finals where they will face the winner of the Western Conference Finals between the Utah Grizzlies and Toledo Walleye. Tickets for the Kelly Cup Finals will go on sale on Tuesday, May 31 at 10 am. Tickets can be purchased by calling or texting (239) 948-7825.
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.