Blades fall in overtime to Sea Wolves, 3-2
BILOXI, MS - The Florida Everblades (40-16-4) saw their five-game winning streak come to an end when former Everblade Mathieu Melanson tallied an overtime power play goal to give the Mississippi Sea Wolves (27-28-7) a crucial 3-2 win on Friday night.
Melanson's first goal against his former team this season turned out to be a big one with the Sea Wolves on the power play after Danick Bouchard was whistled for a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass from the Everblades zone.
The game-winning tally came at 3:39 of the extra session after Melanson left fly a wrist shot from the right circle that sailed over the right shoulder of Everblades net-minder David Leggio sparking a wild celebration by the boisterous crowd of 7,162.
The third straight meeting between the South Division rivals featured an action packed regulation the featured drama with the Everblades tying the game late in the final period.
Prior to that, a fast paced first period saw the Sea Wolves, who are battling with Gwinnett for the final playoff slot in the South Division, come out with a lot of jump forcing the Everblades to counter with good jump of their own to make for an exciting opening 20 minutes. Mississippi was the only team able to get a puck into the net when Alexandre Parent was able to lift a back-hand shot from the bottom the left circle over the right arm of Leggio at 8:26.
The Everblades came out strong in the second period dominating the play while holding Mississippi at bay, holding the Sea Wolves to just one shot over the nine minutes of the frame. The pressure exerted by the Everblades eventually led to the tying goal at 8:11.
After thwarting a Mississippi outlet pass, Steve McJannet dug the puck loose on the right boards before finding A.J. Thelen with a pass in the left circle. Thelen let a shot fly that Mississippi goaltender Ryan Munce stopped, but the rebound slid to McJannet at the top of the crease where he lifted a back-hand shot over Munce's out stretched glove for his fifth goal of the season.
Early in the third period the Sea Wolves regained the lead when Ryan Menei was sprung on a breakaway off a pass from Pat Oliveto. Menei raced in untouched before firing a wrist shot low on the stick side just 3:53 into the period.
Mississippi then clamped down limiting the Everblades' chances as the period moved along, but a simple flip into the offensive right circle by Ross Carlson allowed Kevin Baker to skate freely onto the puck before one-timing a shot up over the glove of Munce and into the net to tie the game at 15:19 to set up overtime. Baker's league leading 48th goal was also assisted by Brad Zanon.
The win was Mississippi's first against the Everblades in nine games and also extended Florida's road winless streak to eight games (0-6-2).
In net Leggio got credit for a tie after stopping 25 of 28 shots, which moved his overall record to 22-6-2. Munce (23-18-4) improved his win total by turning away 40 of 42 shots.
On the power play, the Everblades finished the night 0-of-4, while Sea Wolves closed out the game 1-of-5.
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 Saturday, March 14 when take on the Mississippi Sea Wolves from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum at 8:05 p.m. The Everblades return home on Tuesday, March 17 when they host the Charlotte Checkers at 7:30 p.m.
1 - Mathieu Melanson - MIS
2 - Ryan Munce - MIS
3 - Ryan Menei - FLA
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