ESTERO, Fla. – Entering the third period on Wednesday night, the Florida Everblades led the South Carolina Stingrays 3-1. That wouldn’t be enough, as South Carolina scored three goals in the final 7:02 of play to take a dramatic comeback win. The loss is Florida’s third straight, and first at home in December.
The Everblades opened the scoring with a first-period tally for the first time in four games. Mark Senden fed a backhand pass across the Stingray’s crease, where Tommy Apap (15:29) buried the puck with a top-shelf wrister. The goal was the Michigan native’s first of the season. The Blades took that 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
In the second, the Stingrays tied the game at one thanks to an Austin Magera tally (6:02). But the Blades bit back with a net-crashing finish from Riese Zmolek (7:11) for his second of the year, and a slick snipe from Oliver Chau (11:28) – his fifth lamp-lighting of the campaign. The two quick goals handed Florida a 3-1 lead at the second intermission.
Into the third period, South Carolina stormed back, and potted three unanswered goals. Nick Leivermann started the comeback with seven minutes to go in the third. Tyson Empey (14:41) tied it at three, and Bryce Montgomery finished the three-goal onslaught to give South Carolina the 4-3 win.
Blades starting goalie Evan Cormier turned aside 26 of 30 shots in the loss. Across from him, Mitchell Gibson went 24 for 27 and made some key saves down the stretch for the visitors.
The win is the Stinrays’ fifth consecutive.
Florida and South Carolina are back at it on Friday, Dec. 8 for the second game of this three-game series. Join the Everblades for 239 Friday! Get two tickers, a ten-inch pizza, and a program for just $39! Visit floridaeverblades.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
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