Blades Slip Past Stingrays
ESTERO, Fla. - In the final head-to-head meeting between the teams this season, the Florida Everblades (35-17-2-2) rallied past the South Carolina Stingrays (24-20-10-3) 3-2 in another see-saw affair at Hertz Arena.
FIRST STAR: Stefan Leblanc (FLA) - one goal, +3, 1 shot, game-winning goal
SECOND STAR: Joe Pendenza (FLA) - one goal, one assist, +1, two shots
THIRD STAR: Jake Hildebrand (FLA) - 38 saves, 19th win of the year
Florida opened the score just 20 seconds into the game. Everblades rookie forward Cole Sanford darted in behind the South Carolina defense and slipped the puck past goaltender Matt Jurusik for his first goal in a Florida uniform to give the Everblades a 1-0 lead (0:20).
In the second period, the Stingrays tied the game on the power-play. Dan DeSalvo waltzed in from center ice and snapped a slot shot by netminder Jake Hildebrand for his 15th goal of the season (3:23).
South Carolina took the lead midway through the middle stanza. From the left circle, Blake Hillman's centering pass was deflected by Mark Cooper, who notched his 8th of the campaign making it 2-1 (9:58).
Florida got back on even terms just over two minutes later. Veteran forward Joe Pendenza went five-hole on a shot from the right circle burying his 15th marker of the year to even the score 2-2. Myles Powell and Michael Huntebrinker collected the helpers on evening the score (12:11).
In the third period, Florida grabbed back the lead. Pendenza sent a centering feed in front for Stefan Leblanc, who deflected in the eventual game-winning goal for his career-high fourth tally of the season at the 7:28 mark giving the Everblades a 3-2 advantage.
Late in the third, South Carolina pulled its goalie for the extra attacker but the Blades would hold on for their 35th victory of the season. The Everblades finished the 13-game season series with an impressive 10-1-1-1 record against the Stingrays.
The Everblades return to Hertz Arena this Wednesday, May 12th against the Jacksonville Icemen at 7:30 p.m. Enjoy $3 Bud Light Drafts, $3 Barefoot Wine, $3 John Morrell Hot Dogs, and $4 New Amsterdam and Pink Whitney Vodka! Calling all College Students - Show your College ID at the Hertz Arena Box Office and receive $5 tickets at every Blades Wednesday Night home game!
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