'Blades Run into "Lotz" of Stellar Goaltending in 4-3 OT Loss
ESTERO, FL - Goaltender Austin Lotz made 37 saves while Jimmy Lodge scored just 38-seconds into overtime to lead the Jacksonville Icemen to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Everblades at Germain Arena on Saturday night. Jacksonville earns its first ever win against the Everblades, while Florida (36-12-2-4, 78 pts) picks up a point in the loss.
Jacksonville wasted little time getting on the board, scoring on the first shot of the game just 2:08 into the contest. Florida goaltender Martin Ouellette abandoned his net to play the puck along the back wall. Ouellette kept an eye on the attacker coming toward him but didn't see forward Everett Clark sneaking behind him. Clark stole the puck away from the Florida netminder and centered it to the top of the crease to Elgin Pearce who buried it in the net.
Ten minutes later, the Icemen extended their lead to 2-0 when Garrett Hunt picked up the puck in the crease during a wild scramble in front and popped it into the net for his 13th tally of the season.
Florida responded just 43 seconds later, when Mitchell Heard delivered a wrister from the top of the left circle that clipped past a screened Austin Lotz who was unable to locate the puck with traffic in front. Heard's tally put the score at 2-1 Icemen at the first break.
In the second period, the 'Blades peppered the net with 17 shots, but Lotz continued to commit larceny on Florida shooters, making incredible saves from close range and also while outstretched.
Lotz's saves paved the way for the Icemen to secure a 3-1 edge on a tally by Tim Daly down low at the halfway mark of the middle frame.
Just seven minutes later, Mitchell Heard delivered another shot from up high that paid dividends for Florida. Heard's shot from the point was tipped and redirected by Joe Cox at the top of the crease to pull Florida within one through 40 minutes of play.
The Everblades opened the final frame on the power play and evened the score at three just 42 seconds into the period, as once again Mitchell would be heard again. Heard delivered a shot from the right wing circle that was initially stopped by Lotz. However, the rebound bounced immediately to John McCarron at the top of the crease and then batted the puck into the net past Lotz who had no chance of stopping the second chance opportunity.
As the final period progressed, Florida continued its assault to find the go-ahead marker, but Lotz refused to let the 'Blades get ahead, stopping all 14 shots faced in the period to force overtime.
In the extra session, it took Jacksonville just 38 seconds to seal the victory. Jimmy Lodge accepted a pass from Cameron Critchlow and wristed a shot quickly past Ouellette for the game-winner and secure the 4-3 victory.
Lotz was simply sensational in this contest, turning aside 37 of 40 shots faced in the game, while Ouellette takes just his sixth regulation loss of the season allowing four goals on 20 shots faced.
The Everblades will not have to wait long for an opportunity to avenge Saturday's loss, as they play host to the Icemen once again on Wednesday (Feb, 28) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday's game at Germain Arena will feature $2 hot dogs, beer and wine.
Broadcast Information: Fans can tune into the game on WJBX (101.5, 104.3, 770 AM) or catch it online.
Upcoming Home Games
Wednesday, February 28, vs. Jacksonville, 7:30 p.m. $2 Wednesday! Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs, $2 draft beers and $2 wines all night long in the concourse! College students receive a $5 ticket with valid college ID.
Friday, March 2, vs. Greenville, 7:30 p.m. Kids eat free in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entree, and fans can enjoy bottomless all-you-can-eat-popcorn. Both of these specials are valid for every Friday night game during the regular season.
Saturday, March 3, vs. Greenville, 7:00 p.m. Lee County Schools Night The Fur Circus mascots will be on hand to entertain the fans and kids throughout the night and in the concourse! Tailgate party from 5-7 p.m. featuring live music and bounce houses for the kids.
Purchase Single Game Tickets at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, or online via Ticketmaster
2017-18 Ticket Packages are Currently on Sale! Flexible partial plans are available. These packages will best fit your schedule and budget! To view pricing and benefits of all available ticket packages CLICK HERE
SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new ticket package for the 2017-18 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford's Garage!
Discounted Group Tickets: Bring your group of 10 or more to a game at a discounted price! Group tickets are available for all home games. Fundraising opportunities are also available. For more information on group tickets, call 239-948-7825, or stop by the Everblades offices at Germain Arena Monday thru Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Images from this story
The Florida Everblades eye the Jacksonville Icemen net and Goaltender Austin Lotz
(Kevin Bires Photography)
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