'Blades drop second straight to Stingrays, 7-3
ESTERO, FL - The Florida Everblades (15-5-2) had their annual "Teddy Bear Toss" spoiled as they lost their second straight game to the South Carolina Stingrays (14-6-2) on Saturday night at Germain Arena. The Stingrays notched their fourth straight road win with three power play goals and a four-goal night from Travis Morin in a 7-3 victory over the Everblades in front of a standing room only crowd of 7,384.
For the second straight night the Stingrays scored the game's first three goals. Morin notched his first two goals of the night midway and late in the first period. His first of the night and fifth of the season came at 10:37 after picking up a loose puck and tucking it inside the right post. Morin then gave the Stingrays a 2-0 lead at 15:17 with a quick wrist shot from the slot that sailed over the glove of Everblades net-minder David Leggio.
Leading by two entering the second period, South Carolina quick opened a 3-0 lead on a power play goal by Matt Scherer just two and a half minutes into the frame. Scherer's fourth goal of the season came off a wild scramble at the side of the net where he reached into the pile and poked the puck under the pad of Leggio and across the goal line.
The Everblades found the back of the net for the first time with a power play goal of their own at 6:46. Ernie Hartlieb tallied the first of his two goals by collecting a rebound. The play began on a rush into the zone that saw Hartlieb feed a pass to Kevin Baker in the left circle. Baker then dropped the puck back to Brad Herauf who fired a one-time shot from high slot that was stopped by South Carolina goalie Ian Vigier. Hartlieb corralled the puck and chipped it into the net, sending the stuffed toys from fans raining onto the ice.
The Everblades tried to shake things up by swapping goalies replacing Leggio with Anton Khudobin, however the Stingrays answered the Everblades' goal with three tallies in less than three minutes.
The momentum and excitement of the goal and teddy bear toss was quickly spoiled however as South Carolina regained their four-goal lead seven seconds off the next face-off. The goal, which gave Morin the hat-trick came at 6:53 after taking a quick pass from Tommy Maxwell in the slot and snapped the shot past Khudobin. Morin notched his fourth goal of the night to open a 5-1 lead at 8:25, then Pierre-Luc O'Brien extended the lead to 6-1 lead with his seventh goal of the year at 9:17.
The Everblades again switched goaltenders as Leggio returned to the net. Florida responded by notching the next two goals to trim the Stingrays lead to three, but that was as close as they would get. Hartlieb picked up the team's second power play goal at 13:38 of the second period after Doug O'Brien's shot from the top of the right circle kicked off the pad of Vigier and to Hartlieb's waiting stick.
Baker then notched his team-leading 17th goal of the season with Florida's third power play goal of the game after his shot from the bottom of the left circle deflected off Stingrays defenseman Nate Kiser's stick and into the net at 8:56 of the third period.
That was as close as the Everblades would get as South Carolina put the final touch on the scoring with their third power play goal when Paul Kelly notched his fourth goal of the season at 13:46 of the third period.
Khudobin (10-3-1) ended up with the loss after allowing the game-winning goal in the second period. Overall Khudobin allowed three goals on six shots in the 4:23 he played. Leggio completed the night with 21 saves in 55:37 played. Vigier collected the win in his first start of the season by stopping 33 of 36 shtos.
On the power play, the Everblades finished the night 3-of-5, while South Carolina closed out the game 3-of-6.
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