ESTERO, Fla. — Justin Auger scored 5:42 into overtime to complete an improbable comeback for the Florida Everblades in a 3-2 overtime triumph over the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
Trailing by two with less than three minutes to play, Florida (13-7-1-2, 29 pts.) scored twice in 85 seconds to force overtime before capturing the win in overtime to split the two-game series with South Carolina (16-2-2-0, 34 pts.).
South Carolina scored just 46 seconds into the third and then again with only 3:52 left in regulation to seemingly put the game away, but Florida had a quick response to jump back into the game. Just 60 seconds after the Stingrays went ahead 2-0, Jeremy Dehner rifled a shot from the right circle that Blake Winiecki deflected past South Carolina goaltender Logan Thompson to cut the Everblades' deficit to one. That tally was Florida's first against the Stingrays in 216 minutes, eight seconds.
Logan Roe tied the game at two 85 seconds later on a net mouth scramble. Dehner again pulled the trigger on the initial shot, and Roe managed to shovel the puck in amidst a heap of bodies with 1:27 left in regulation to force overtime.
Then, with overtime approaching the final minute, Auger wove through traffic to the slot and roofed a shot over Thompson's blocker to give Florida the win.
- With the win over the Stingrays, the ‘Blades have earned at least a point against every divisional opponent.
- Blake Winiecki continued his dominance over South Division teams, as he scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season. In 17 games against South Division opponents, Winiecki has notched eight goals and six assists.
- Jeremy Dehner recorded a season-high in points by assisting on all three of Florida's goals.
- The 'Blades tying-goal was their latest such goal over the last two seasons. Florida's next-latest goal came with 1:28 left in the third period of a 6-5 overtime win over Orlando on Dec. 22, 2018.
- The ‘Blades posted their highest shot total of the year, recording 44 shots on net to beat their previous high of 42 shots, which came in a 4-3 win over the Norfolk Admirals on Oct. 11.
- Ken Appleby was stellar in net for the ‘Blades as he earned his 8th win of the year and improved to (8-3-1-2) on the season by stopping 29 shots.
The 'Blades start a three-game week with another Wednesday matchup in Jacksonville against the Icemen. Faceoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Arena.
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