ESTERO, Fla. – Sparked by two late first-period goals and a stellar 34-save shutout by goaltender Cam Johnson, the Florida Everblades picked up an impressive 4-0 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays before 5,140 fans Friday night at Hertz Arena.
For the Everblades, Johnson, Mark Senden and Cam Morrison and Johnson were the unquestioned three stars of the opening period – and eventually the game – as Florida erupted late in the frame for a 2-0 lead. Senden struck on the Blades’ first power play opportunity of the night, netting his fourth goal of the season at the 18:47 mark off assists by Oliver Chau and Sean Josling, while Morrison doubled the Florida lead just 23 seconds later, with Joe Pendenza earning the helper.
Johnson enjoyed a stellar opening frame in between the pipes, stopping all 16 South Carolina shots he faced, setting the stage for his eighth career shutout as an Everblade. In the period, the Blades registered two goals on just four shots against Stingrays netminder Garin Bjorklund.
The second period saw Florida’s Patrick Holway provide some insurance, putting the Blades ahead 3-0 with a mighty blast from the right circle at the 9:00 mark for his third goal of the season. Senden and Zach Uens picked up the assists.
Morrison added an empty net goal in the final minute, his second tally of the game, to seal the 4-0 victory for the Everblades.
Despite South Carolina outshooting the Everblades 34-20, Johnson was a winner and improved to 7-4-2-0 for the Everblades, while Bjorklund’s record slipped to 5-4-1-0.
The longest homestand of the season continues with the last of three games between the Everblades and Stingrays Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. as one of the most popular promotions on the schedule returns – the annual Teddy Bear Toss game presented by Fifth Third Bank and Bear Necessities. In addition to the always festive Teddy Bear Toss, Saturday highlights include a tailgate party complete with live music, bounce houses for the kids, the Coca-Cola Caravan and a chance to meet none other than Santa Claus! After Saturday’s third game against South Carolina, the Everblades will be idle until next weekend, when the Orlando Solar Bears come to town for a pair of games on Friday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m. Visit floridaeverblades.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
With the 4-0 victory, the Everblades snapped a three-game winless streak (0-2-1-0), while the Stingrays’ longest winning streak of the season came to an abrupt end at five games.
The shutout by Cam Johnson was the eighth of his Everblades career, first of the year and 10th of his professional career.
The Everblades’ power play unit got back on track in the first period, as Mark Senden snapped the Blades’ two-game string without a man-up goal.
Mark Senden, Oliver Chau, Sean Josling and Joe Pendenza picked up first-period points, as they etched their names onto the scoresheet for the second straight night against the Stingrays. Senden would make it a two-point night with a second-period helper. In the first two games of the series, Senden tallied a goal and two assists, Chau registered a goal and an assist, while Pendenza and Josling logged helpers in each contest.
The teams combined for 62 penalty minutes on 16 infractions, 48 hours removed from combining for just six minutes on three penalties.
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