NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – ECHL All-Star Cam Johnson made 38 saves, Joe Pendenza snapped a scoreless tie early in the second period and Brad Morrison picked up a key goal in the third period as the Florida Everblades registered an impressive 3-1 win over the South Carolina Stingrays Sunday afternoon at North Charleston Coliseum. The victory was the 500th professional win for Everblades head coach Brad Ralph and lifted Florida into first place in the ECHL South Division.
The Everblades’ second victory over the Stingrays in as many games was just the second regulation win posted by an opponent at South Carolina, which entered the two-game series with a 13-0-2-0 home record in 2022-23. Johnson will head to Monday’s 2023 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Optima Health and Sentara Healthcare with a league-best 17 wins, two more than any other league netminder.
Neither team managed to get on the scoreboard in an even opening period, as both squads collected 10 shots on goal and came up empty on one power play opportunity apiece during the first 20 minutes.
The Everblades seized the lead just over four minutes into the second period, as Joe Pendenza snapped the scoreless deadlock, firing home his 10th goal of the year off feeds from Nathan Staios and Blake Winiecki. Pendenza extended his point streak to nine games as the veteran has rolled off 11 points on five goals and six assists during that stretch. South Carolina outshot the Blades 13-8 in the middle frame.
Morrison doubled the Everblades’ lead with a power-play goal at 1:05 of the third period, his second goal of the season. Stefan Leblanc picked up his 18th assist of the season and the 100th point of his professional career as Florida pulled ahead 2-0.
South Carolina’s Kevin O’Neil trimmed the Blades’ lead to 2-1 with a marker midway through the frame, but Oliver Chau’s empty-net goal, his ninth tally of the season off an assist by Pendenza, regained a two-goal lead for Florida, a 3-1 winner. In the third period, the Stingrays turned up the heat on Johnson, outshooting the Everblades 16-8 in the final period, but the all-star was up to the task, making 15 saves.
With the long road trip in the books, the Blades will enjoy a much-needed respite before returning to action on Friday, January 20 for the first of a two-game set with the Savannah Ghost Pirates. Friday’s tilt gets started at 7:30 p.m., while the teams will also hook up on Saturday, January 21 at 7:00 p.m.
SCORING SUMMARY – Click for full box score 1st Period No Scoring 2nd Period 4:13 Florida J. Pendenza 10 (N. Staios, B. Winiecki) 3rd Period 4:13 Florida B. Morrison 2 PP (S. Leblanc, N. Staios) 9:44 South Carolina K. O’Neil 12 (R. Scarfo, A Fortin) 19:19 Florida O. Chau 9 EN (J. Pendenza) GOALTENDERS Florida – Cam Johnson, 38 Saves South Carolina – Tyler Wall, 23 Saves
TEAM STATISTICS Shots on Goal – Florida 26, South Carolina 39 Power Plays – Florida 1-2, South Carolina 0-4 Shorthanded Goals – Florida 0, South Carolina 0 Penalties (Minutes) –Florida 4 (8), South Carolina 2 (4)
NEWS AND NOTES
Joe Pendenza’s second-period goal extended his point streak to nine games. With two points on the night, Pendenza has registered 12 points on five goals and seven assists in that nine-game run. In December and January, Pendenza has 18 points in 17 games (5 G, 13 A), picking up at least one point in 15 of those contests.
Always the generous teammate, Blake Winiecki followed up his goal on Saturday night with an assist on Pendenza’s goal for his ninth helper of the season.
Brad Morrison has scored two goals in the last four games.
Nathan Staios earned assists on two Florida goals, giving him five this season and three since he returned to the Blades’ lineup on January 4.
Oliver Chau’s ninth goal of the season gave him six multi-point games this year and two in the two-game set at South Carolina.
In addition to leading the ECHL with 17 wins, all-star netminder Cam Johnson sports a 6-1-1-1 record with one no decision over his last 10 starts.
The Everblades improved to 11-0-1-1 when leading after two periods.
Following the ECHL All-Star Break which is headlined by the 2023 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Optima Health and Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Virginia on Monday, January 16, the Everblades will return to Hertz Arena on Friday, January 20 and Saturday, January 21 for back-to-back games against the Savannah Ghost Pirates at 7:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., respectively.
On Friday night, Blades fans can take advantage of the popular 239 Friday Deals and pick up two tickets, two programs and two slices of pizza for the extra special price of $39! In addition, kids 12 and under can eat free at Breakaway Sports Pub.
Saturday’s game will be preceded by our popular Saturday tailgate, which features live music from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Be sure and catch all the action 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 https://everblades.mixlr.com.
JOIN THE FUN
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.
Group Packages are available for a group of 10 or more!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.
Grab the newest and hottest Everblades merchandise by checking out the entire collection that is available online by visiting shop.floridaeverblades.com or at the Hertz Arena Pro Shop!
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 everblades.mixlr.com.
The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the AHL's Charlotte Checkers.