ESTERO, Fla. – A goal in the opening minute of the contest was the only scoring play of the evening, but unfortunately it went the way of the visiting Greenville Swamp Rabbits, which picked up a 1-0 victory over the Florida Everblades in front of an electric, sold-out crowd of 7,151 fans Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
The Everblades pressured Greenville from whistle to whistle over the first 20 minutes, outshooting the
visitors by a decisive 12-4 margin in the opening period, but the only goal of the frame belonged to the Swamp Rabbits. Jordan Timmons knocked in the puck on the game’s first shot by either team just 49 seconds after the opening draw to stake Greenville to an early 1-0 lead that would hold up.
Florida continued to control the tempo throughout the middle period but were unable to capitalize on a 13-10 edge in shots on goal, raising their shooting advantage to 25-14 after 40 minutes. The Everblades stymied two Greenville power-play opportunities for the second straight period.
The third period saw the Everblades outshoot the Swamp Rabbits for the third straight period, 12-4 – including several point-blank opportunities with goaltender Cam Johnson pulled over the final 1:27 – but neither team could solve the opposing goaltender in the final 20 minutes.
With the Everblades winning the shot battle by a better than 2-to-1 margin, 37-18, Johnson (12-8-3-1) was a hard-luck loser, stopping 17 of 18 shots. Greenville’s Luke Richardson (5-1-1-0) stopped all 37 shots taken by the Blades and picked up his first professional shutout.
Next up for the Everblades is a three-game road trip which will get started Wednesday, January 31 with a 7:00 p.m. game in Jacksonville. Following the single game in Duval County, the Everblades will head to Savannah for a pair on Friday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 3 at 7:00 p.m. The Blades will return to Hertz Arena for a four-game homestand which will get underway on Wednesday, February 7 with the first of three games against the Adirondack Thunder at 7:30 p.m.
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