'Blades Race Past Rush to Earn Series Win
RAPID CITY, S.D. - Four different players found the back of the net and Jeremy Helvig turned aside 25 shots to lead the Florida Everblades to a 5-1 win over the Rapid City Rush on Saturday night at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
On the heels of just their third regulation loss since the start of December, the 'Blades (28-8-5-0, 61 pts.) scored twice in the first period and got a two-goal night from Joe Cox to earn four of six possible points against Rapid City (16-22-2-3, 37 pts.).
Tommy Thompson got the 'Blades offense going early with their first goal in an opening period of the weekend. Despite being the only player in the offensive zone on the forecheck, Thompson managed to get the puck deep to start the scoring sequence. Then, later in the play, Thompson got a feed from defenseman Matt Finn in the left circle, angled to the front of the net along the goal line and beat Rapid City goaltender Adam Carlson with a backhand shot at the right side of the crease.
Florida doubled the lead later in the opening period thanks to a gratuitous bounce in the offensive end. Off a pass from Derek Sheppard, Nathan Perkovich let a shot go from behind the far goal line that pinballed off bodies in front and slipped past Carlson to make it 2-0 with 4:45 left in the first.
Kyle Platzer then moved the lead to three with a shorthanded goal with less than four minutes to play in the middle frame. On a two-on-one rush with Blake Winiecki, Platzer slowed as he crossed the line and fed the puck to Winiecki between the circles. Winiecki returned the feed, and Platzer then put it top shelf on Carlson.
Rapid City finally broke through against Helvig with a shot from Riley Weselowski that popped high into the air and trickled past Helvig 2:23 into the third.
But Florida bounced right back to go up by three again on the first of the night for Cox. From the right corner, Michael Neville sent a pass to the back post for Cox, who tipped it past Carlson in one motion only 67 seconds after Rapid City had scored.
Cox then capped the scoring off another remarkable feed from Neville to give him his fourth multi-goal game of the season. Neville slipped a no-look feed to the top of the crease for Cox, and Cox immediately snapped it home for his 17th goal of the season.
With the win, Helvig extended his personal win streak to 10 games, a streak that dates back to Dec. 5, 2018.
Florida returns home this coming weekend to start a stretch of three straight games against the Jacksonville Icemen. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday night at Hertz Arena.
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