Blades' Five-Goal Second Period Launches Them to 5th Straight Win
CHARLOTTE, NC - The Florida Everblades (24-8-2) rode a five-goal second period surge to their fifth consecutive win in an 8-2 drubbing over the Charlotte Checkers (18-16-2) on Tuesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. In the process the Everblades set an all-time team record with 61 shots on goal, and matched a season-high with 26 shots in the second period of play.
The Checkers started off the scoring by picking up their sixth short-handed marker of the year in the first four minutes of the game. The play developed with Checkers' all-star Matt Ford carrying the puck through the neutral zone on the right wing side. As Ford gained the offensive zone he let a slap shot fly from the top of the right circle that beat Everblades goaltender David Leggio low on the stick side at 3:24.
The second period goal-scoring explosion by the Everblades began with Danick Bouchard notching the team's first power play goal at 4:32 of the frame. Bouchard notched his 14th goal of the season with a laser-beam wrist shot from the high slot after taking a pass from Mark Lee.
Once the Everblades broke through on Charlotte net-minder Jeff Jakaitis the goals started flowing as former Checker Mark Lee tallied the next two Florida goals in a span of less than two minutes. Lee's first of the night and fifth of the season came at 6:10 when his slap shot from the left half wall got deflected by a Charlotte defender's stick and over the glove of Jakaitis.
Lee then made it a 3-1 lead at 8:12 after being set up by a nice play by Noah Babin. From deep in his own zone Babin lofted the puck in the air to center ice where Lee picked up the pass in stride and broke in offensively down the left side. Lee was able to side step the lone Checkers defenseman before cutting across the top of the crease and lifting the puck over a sprawling Jakaitis.
Peter Metcalf got in on the scoring fun with another power play goal at 11:53. Off a left side draw Mecalf took the puck at the blue line and slid to the middle of the ice before letting a slap shot go that found its way through traffic an into the net. Andrew Sweetland picked up the lone assist on Metcalf's fourth goal of the season.
Florida rounded out the scoring and chased Jakaitis to the bence in the period just past the mid point in the frame when Sweetland tallied his third goal of the year when his shot from the right boards hit off a Charlotte defender and into the net at 12:22. Maxime Daigneault took over in net for the Checkers for the remainder of the game.
Although the Checkers got an early third period goal by Mike Taylor at 2:38, the Everblades crushed any hope of a Charlotte come back by scoring three more goals in a seven minute span midway through the third period. Bouchard recorded his second power play goal of the game at 7:01 after one-timing a pass in the left circle from Lang between the pads of Daigneault.
Mathieu Roy then added to the Checkers' headache when he and Kevin Baker cashed in on a rush into the offensive zone. After Baker's attempt from the top of the crease was stopped by Daigneault, Roy rushed on to sweep the loose puck in the crease across the goal line at 9:46 for his seventh goal of the year.
The scoring surge ended at 14:01 when Baker tallied his team-leading 28th goal of the year. After battle in the corner that saw Ross Carlson and Sweetland dig the puck loose and feed Baker in the left circle. After side-stepping a defender Baker's wrist shot found the upper right corner of the net for the team's eighth goal.
Late in the period the Everblades collected their 60th shot on goal from Andrew Fournier which set the new all-time mark, surpassing the previous club high 59 shots set on Oct. 14, 1999 vs. Jackson.
In net Leggio earned his fourth straight win by turning away 19 of 21 shots to imrove his record to 12-3-1. Jakaitis finished the game with the loss, dropping his record to 11-8-2 after he allowed five goals on 30 shots in the 32:22 he played. Daigneault finished off the game allowing three goals on 26 shots.
On the power play, the Everblades finished the night 3-of-5, while Charlotte closed out the game 0-of-2.
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ECHL Stories from January 13, 2009
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