ESTERO, Fla. – Led by goals from three different rookies, the Florida Everblades captured an impressive 3-1 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays 3-1 Saturday night at Hertz Arena. In the victory, Andrew Fyten turned in his first career three-point game, Zach Uens netted the game-winner and Xavier Cormier added a goal as 7,186 loud and proud fans saw the Blades take the rubber game of a three-game set between the bitter South Division rivals.
Jumping out in front early usually leads to good things for the Everblades and Saturday night’s contest was a prime example. Scoring first and leading after one period have been calling cards for the Everblades’ success this season, as the Blades entered play sporting a 19-3-2 record when scoring first, a 13-0-0 mark when scoring first at home and posting an identical 13-0-0 mark when leading after one period.
In the game’s first 20 minutes, the Everblades checked each of those boxes as Fyten put the Blades ahead 1-0 just 5:24 after the opening draw, notching his second goal off the year off a feed from Lukas Kälble for the period’s only goal.
Midway through a big second period, Uens banged home his second goal of the campaign with a blast from the left point to double the Everblades’ lead to 2-0 at the 9:33 mark. Cormier’s seventh goal at 13:36 extended the lead to 3-0. Fyten and Levko Koper assisted on both goals, giving Fyten his first career three-point game and Koper his first two-assist game this season.
At 1:32 of the third period with both teams down a man, Anthony Del Gaizo spoiled Evan Fitzpatrick’s bid for his first shutout of the season, as South Carolina trimmed the good guys’ lead to 3-1.
Fitzpatrick (10-3-0-0) turned aside 28 shots and remained unbeaten in his last six starts (5-0-0-1) as the Everblades improved to 7-1 versus South Carolina this season. South Carolina outshot the Everblades 29-28.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the AHL's Charlotte Checkers.