SAVANNAH, Ga. – Two goals by Oliver Chau, three assists from Will Reilly and a game-winning goal in the third period by Riese Zmolek was the magic formula, as the Florida Everblades won the team’s fourth-straight game, 5-2 over Savannah Ghost Pirates Sunday afternoon at Enmarket Arena. The Everblades’ four-game winning streak matches the team’s longest of the season.
Less than 24 hours removed from an Everblades victory in which the Blades and Ghost Pirates combined for 11 goals on 74 shots on goal, the offense was slow to develop for either team in the early going of the series finale. Savannah, however, broke through first with a power-play goal by Brent Pedersen at 13:18 of what proved suddenly to be a busy first period.
The red-hot Everblades power-play unit responded to tie the game at 1-1 at the 18:06 mark, as Chau capitalized with his 10th goal of the season, thanks to helpers from Reilly and Bobo Carpenter.
Unfortunately, Savannah’s Ross Armour converted on a deflection just one minute later at 19:06 on a delayed penalty to give the Ghost Pirates a 2-1 advantage heading into the second frame.
Much like the opening frame, the second period found scoring hard to come by in the opening stages, but with the teams playing four-on-four hockey, Chau went bar down from the right circle at the 19:04 mark for his second goal of the game and 11th of the year to tie the game at 2-2. Joe Pendenza picked up the primary assist, while Reilly notched his second helper of the contest.
Florida would take its first lead of the contest at 5:11 of the third period, as Brett Davis won a faceoff in the left circle feeding Reilly, who set up a one-timer for Zmolek, whose shot hit the post and went into net for a power-play goal, giving the Everblades a 3-2 advantage. Reilly’s assist was his third of the contest.
Slava Demin’s first professional goal gave the Everblades some insurance, putting the good guys ahead 4-2 at 12:08 of the final frame. Bobo Carpenter’s 16th goal of the year into an empty net closed out the scoring.
Savannah outshot the Everblades 30-18, but the Blades took advantage when on the man advantage, as the visitors beat the Ghost Pirates for three power-play goals for the second straight contest.
In net for the Everblades, Cam Johnson (12-7-3-0) made 28 saves to earn the victory, while Savannah’s Michael McNiven (2-6-2-0) recorded just 13 stops and suffered the loss. Both netminders left the contest following an impressive goalie scrap in the closing seconds.
The Everblades return home to open a three-game homestand on Wednesday, January 24 against the Atlanta Gladiators. The 7:30 p.m. game will feature the always-popular Hump Day Deal, as fans can enjoy $3.00 hot dogs and $3.00 beers, while also being entertained by DJ Matty Chiuch.
Next weekend, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits will return to Hertz Arena for a 7:30 p.m. contest on Friday, January 26 and a 7:00 p.m. tilt on Saturday, January 27. Another 239 Friday will see fans able to purchase two tickets, a large popcorn and a souvenir program for just $39. Saturday will be a big night at Hertz Arena, as the evening starts with a pre-game tailgate party with live music, while the game will see the team decked out in specialty Affiliation Night jerseys that will be available for purchase through an online auction, with proceeds benefitting Animal Refuge Center.
Visit floridaeverblades.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
Oliver Chau’s two power-play goals were his second and third markers in as many games. The man-up goal was the fifth of the past three games for the Blades. With a second-period marker, Chau turned in his first two-goal game and fifth multi-point game of the season. Last season, Chau collected two goals in three games – one in the regular season and two in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
With an assist on each of the Everblades’ first three goals, Will Reilly extended his assist streak to four games, while tallying seven points in that stretch (2 G, 5 A). Reilly’s three-point outing was his third multi-point effort in as many games.
Bobo Carpenter snapped a mini two-game point drought with an assist, his first since December 6, a run in which Carpenter has filled up opposing nets with eight goals.
Joe Pendenza extended his point streak to four games, tallying three goals and four helpers in those four contests.
Slava Demin’s first professional goal came in the third period.
With the victory, the Everblades posted a 4-1 in the extended five-game home-and-home series, while improving to 5-1 in the season series.
JOIN THE FUN
The 2023-24 season ticket plans are on sale now! Become a Blades 365 Member for the 2023-24 season and enjoy incredible savings and benefits! 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 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, or online at espnswfl.com or everblades.mixlr.com. Stay up to date by following the Blades on social media with all the latest news, scores, and promotions on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter.