ESTERO, Fla. – Clad in purple and gold, Las Tortugas took to the ice in front of 6,352 fans at Hertz Arena and took a 4-0 win over the Savannah Ghost Pirates. The victory fell on the team’s first-ever Hispanic Heritage Night.
Las Tortugas found the net early in the first period. Cole Moberg put a long wrist shot onto Savannah starting netminder Michael Bullion, but Joe Pendenza was waiting out front to bury the rebound and give Florida a 1-0 lead. Later, in the final two minutes of the period, Sean Josling wired a wicked wrister into the top corner of the cage for a power-play goal. Physicality continued from the previous two games, with both sides exchanging some post-whistle shoves during the first. After the first 20 minutes of play, Las Tortugas took a 2-0 lead into the dressing room.
The second period was quieter in terms of goals, but both teams combined for 21 shots – 11 from Las Tortugas and 10 from the Ghost Pirates. The lone goal of the frame came in the dying seconds, when Pendenza intercepted the puck in the Savannah zone, and backhanded the gift home for his second of the game. Pendy’s tally lifted Florida a 3-0 lead at the break.
The Ghost Pirates pulled Bullion with 2:30 to play in the final period of play, but Will Reilly took a pass from Sean Josling, and launched home a 150-foot goal to seal the contest for las Tortugas. Final score, 4-0.
Florida netminder Cam Johnson turned aside all 25 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. Across the ice from him, Bullion stopped 20 of 24 shots.
While las Tortugas take the opening half of next week off for the ECHL All-Star Classic, Nate Staios and the entire Ghost Pirates team will make the journey to Savannah for the festivities.
Florida and Savannah will meet again next week, Jan. 20 and Jan. 21 for two meetings in Georgia to wrap up this de facto five-game series between the two South Division rivals.
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