Blades win 5th straight; Baker ties EC HL record with 27th power play goalMarch 31, 2009 - ECHL (ECHL) Florida Everblades
The win improved the Everblades to 9-0-1 in the their last 10 home games, and snapped Gwinnett's two-game win streak over Florida.
A tightly contested game saw the clubs trade goals throughout the first two periods. The Gladiators opened the scoring late in the first period on a power play goal by Brandon Kalenicki at 17:21. Kalenicki slammed home a cross ice pass from Tom Zanoski at the left post to give Gwinnett the late period lead.
The celebration however didn't last long as Baker evened the score with his league-leading 54th goal of the season just 36 seconds later. Baker, who was stopped by Gwinnett goaltender Joe Fallon on a breakaway earlier in the period, tied the game after slipping a back-hand shot from the right side of the crease between the pads Fallon. Line mates Andrew Sweetland and Milan Gajic collected the assists.
With the score still tied 1-1 entering the second period, the Everblades came out flying in the middle frame. Florida dominated the puck possession and eventually took their first lead of the night just under six minutes into the period. At 5:52 Gajic took a nice lead pass from Peter Metcalf at the offensive blue line before slipping between the defenders and snapping off a quick wrist shot from the slot over Fallon's glove. A.J. Thelen also assisted on Gajic's eighth goal of the season.
This time though, Gwinnett managed to battle back and tie the score. Late in the period the Gladiators converted on their second power play goal of the night when Jeff Mason's shot off a Leggio rebound trickled across the goal line at 14:09. The goal came right at the conclusion of a 5-on-3 power play and was Mason's 14th of the year.
Just as they had the previous intermission, the teams hit the break tied after two periods. This time however the Everblades wore down the Gladiators, who were also guilty of taking four penalties, to grab the lead for good. Mark Lee notched the eventual game-winning goal at 5:37 when his wrap-around shot inside the right post beat a sprawling Fallon to give the Everblades a 3-2 lead. The goal was Lee's 13th and was assisted by Thelen and Steve McJannet.
Baker closed out the scoring with a record-tying power play marker at 12:23 to give the Everblades some cushion. Baker's 55th tally of the year came when he swung from behind the net to the left post where his shot caromed off Fallon and into the air before dropping down behind the Gladiator net-minder. The goal was assisted by Thelen and Sweetland and was Baker's 27th power play goal of the year which tied the ECHL's single-season record.
In net, Leggio picked up the win by stopping 32 of 34 shots to improve his record to 25-7-3. Fallon, who made several big saves over the first 30 minutes, suffered the tough-luck loss allowing the four goals on 27 shots which dropped his record to 17-12-2.
On the power play, the Everblades finished the night 1-of-6, while Gladiators closed out the game 2-of-7.
BEWARE OF THE BITE! Action You Can Sink Your Teeth Into! Individual tickets to all Everblades home games are on sale now! Visit the Germain Arena Box Office M-F from 10-6 to purchase tickets, or order online at www.ticketmaster.com. Visit www.floridaeverblades.com and www.germainarena.com or call 239-948-PUCK for more information on group ticket packages, pricing and upcoming Germain Arena events.
The Everblades return to action on Wednesday, April 1 when they host the Gwinnett Gladiators at 7:30 p.m. from Germain Arena.
3 Stars: 1 - Kevin Baker - FLA 2 - Milan Gajic - FLA 3 - Andrew Sweetland - FLA
ECHL Stories from March 31, 2009
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- Blades make changes to roster - Florida Everblades
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- ECHL Today - ECHL
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