ESTERO, Fla. – The biggest crowd of the season at Hertz Arena – a standing room only throng of 7,648 boisterous Everblades fans – saw the biggest win of the of season. Luke Santerno snapped a 1-1 tie with under a minute to play as the Florida Everblades closed out an impressive three-game sweep of the Adirondack Thunder, beating the top team in the North Division and the Eastern Conference 3-1 Saturday night at Hertz Arena
Visiting Adirondack opened the scoring just 1:27 into the contest, as Ryan Smith slipped past the Everblades defense and converted from the low slot to give the Thunder an early 1-0 lead that would hold up until the first intermission. Florida enjoyed several good looks throughout the frame, outshooting Adirondack 10-6, but were unable to break through. It was the first lead the Thunder would hold at the end of a period in the three-game series.
The good guys kept the pressure on throughout the middle period, outshooting the Thunder 18-10, and finally breaking through on the team’s first power-play opportunity of the game at the 18:24 mark. Oliver Chau tied the game at 1-1 with his 14th goal of the season, striking from traffic in front of the Adirondack net. Bobo Carpenter and Santerno picked up the timely assists.
Goals continued to be at a premium in the third period, but the Everblades managed to get a big one from Santerno, his fifth of the year, to take a 2-1 lead at the 17:10 mark, with Cam Darcy earning the game-winning assist. Carpenter closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal, his team-leading 20th of the season, with 53.5 seconds to play.
Florida blistered Adirondack in the shot department 44-21 – including a 16-5 edge in the decisive third period – in a contest that featured strong goalie play on both ends of the rink. For the Everblades, Cam Johnson (15-9-3-1) stopped 20 of 21 shots, while the Thunder’s Jeremy Brodeur (14-6-1-0) turned aside 41 shots in the loss.
The four-game homestand will come to a close when the Orlando Solar Bears come to town for a 7:30 p.m. game on Wednesday, February 14. The Valentine’s Day meeting with be Margaritaville Night, complete with $3.00 hot dogs, $3.00 Labatt beers, a Cooler Bag giveaway courtesy of Mollie Moo’s Ice Cream, and live music from DJ Matty Chiuch.
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Saturday’s standing room only crowd of 7,648 was a season-high and the largest crowd at Hertz Arena since the all-time record of 7,855 in attendance for Game Four of the 2023 Kelly Cup Finals, when the Everblades hoisted a second consecutive Kelly Cup on home ice.
The Everblades were held scoreless in the first period, the team’s first scoreless period in the Adirondack series. It also marked the first period in which the Blades failed to score a goal since the second frame against Savannah last Saturday, a string of seven regulation periods with at least one Florida goal.
Saturday’s come-from-behind win bucked the trend. When trailing after one period, the Everblades entered play with a 3-11-2-1 mark, while Adirondack came into Saturday’s action with a 14-2-2-0 tally when leading after the opening stanza. The Blades trailed 1-0 after one period and came back to win 3-1.
Oliver Chau’s big power-play goal late in the second period extended his goal-scoring streak to three games. With one of the assists, Luke Santerno extended his point streak to four games, as he has picked up at least one point in every game since joining the Everblades before the team’s February 3 game in Savannah. After scoring a goal in his Blades debut, Santerno has helpers in three-straight contests – and Saturday night’s big game-winning goal.
Bobo Carpenter has five points in the last three games, as the Everblades’ leading scorer recorded three goals and two assists in the Adirondack series. Cam Darcy has assists in four straight game.
Florida improved to 4-1-1-0 against Adirondack this season, outscoring the Thunder 20-114.
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