JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tyler Irvine scored a hat trick as the Florida Everblades jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 5-2 victory to eliminate the Jacksonville Icemen in Game Six of the South Division Finals Monday night at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Florida took the series by a 4-2 margin and will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Newfoundland Growlers for the second consecutive season.
Irvine got the scoring started for the Everblades at 9:13 of the first period, backhanding home a blocked shot taken by Zach Uens for his fifth goal of the playoffs. Cam Darcy also picked up an assist as Florida pulled ahead 1-0 with the team’s first lead since closing out their Game Three victory over Jacksonville in Estero. The Blades controlled the game’s first 20 minutes, outshooting the Icemen 11-5 and successfully killied off Jacksonville’s sole power-play opportunity of the period.
Cole Moberg chose an opportune time to notch the first goal by an Everblades defenseman this postseason, as he doubled the Blades’ lead to 2-0 at 1:51 of the second period. Logan Lambdin earned his first assist since the opening game of the series. The teams ended up trading second-period goals, as Ara Nazarian broke through for the Icemen at the 18:56 mark and cut the Blades’ lead to 2-1 after 40 minutes. Florida outshot Jacksonville for the sixth straight regulation period in the series, 9-6.
In the third period, Irvine struck again to give the Everblades a 3-1 lead at 11:19, converting a pass from Levko Koper just as he left the penalty box and got behind the Jacksonville defense to knock home the insurance goal. Irvine’s fourth goal of the series led all Florida players. Jacksonville’s Derek Lodermeier tipped in the puck with the Icemen on a six-on-five advantage at 18:32 to pull the home team within one, but empty-net goals by Levko Koper and Irvine in the final minute closed out the scoring.
Everblades goaltender Cam Johnson stopped 17 of 19 shots as his playoff record improved to 8-3-1, while former Blade Parker Gahagen made 23 saves and evened his record at 2-2 for Jacksonville. Florida registered a 28-19 advantage in shots on goal.
With two series wins in the rearview mirror, the Everblades will now move on to the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year. The Blades will battle the Newfoundland Growlers for the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy and a spot in the 2023 Kelly Cup Finals. The Blades will battle the Newfoundland Growlers for the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy and a spot in the 2023 Kelly Cup Finals.
Hertz Arena will be the site of Game One on Friday, May 19, Game Two on Saturday, May 20 and Game Three on Monday, May 22. Home games will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Monday, and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets for the first three games of the series will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the Fifth Third Bank Box Office at Hertz Arena, online HERE or by calling the Everblades office at 239-948-PUCK.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the AHL's Charlotte Checkers.