'Blades Out-Battle Gladiators in 4-1 Win
ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades started the new year with a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Gladiators at Hertz Arena on Wednesday night, which extended their winning streak to six games.
Nathan Perkovich and Kyle Platzer both registered multi-point games, and Florida (22-6-5-0, 49 pts.) scored twice in the second period and twice in the third period to run its home point streak to 12 games with its fourth win over Atlanta (7-18-5-1, 20 pts.) this season.
The 'Blades finally broke through against Atlanta goaltender Sean Bonar almost halfway through the second period as Patrick McCarron picked up his first goal of the season. As the 'Blades worked a cycle in the Gladiators' end, McCarron found some open space in the slot, dropped down from the point and received the puck from Nathan Perkovich (1g, 1a). McCarron took the puck in stride and waited out a shot that he belted on net past the blocker side of Bonar at the 9:20 mark of period two.
Justin Auger extended the 'Blades lead just a few minutes later with his seventh goal in just his 14th game of the season. As Florida set up in the offensive end, newcomer Patrick Bajkov got the puck to Blake Winiecki in behind the cage. Winiecki came from the backside of the net along the right circle and sent a pass to Auger who one-timed a shot along the ice to beat Bonar. After being reassigned to the 'Blades earlier in the day, Bajkov posted his first point in his first game with Florida.
The Gladiators ended Florida goaltender Jeremy Helvig's shutout bid on the power play at 3:49 of the third period. Nolan LaPorte scored the goal for the Gladiators with a hard wrister from the point, cutting the 'Blades lead in half with 16:11 to play in regulation.
Kyle Platzer (1g, 1a) picked up his own rebound and scored at 11:29 of the third to help the 'Blades regain their two-goal lead over the Gladiators. With Bonar pulled for an extra attacker late in the third, Platzer then set up Perkovich's empty-net tally, the final score of the night.
Helvig earned his ninth win, his sixth consecutive victory, by stopping all but one of the 26 shots he faced.
Florida continues the three-game series against Atlanta with a 7:30 p.m. matchup on Friday at Hertz Arena.
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ECHL Stories from January 2, 2019
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