'Blades Sting Rays in 4-1 Win
ESTERO, Fla. - Tommy Thompson and Blake Winiecki both scored in the first three minutes of the first period and Jamie Phillips turned in a 25-save effort to propel the Florida Everblades to a 4-1 win over the South Carolina Stingrays on Wednesday night at Hertz Arena.
The Everblades (10-5-3-0, 23 pts.) struck twice in both the first and third periods to increase their unbeaten streak to six games (5-0-1-0) and earn their 100th all-time win against South Carolina (10-9-0-0, 20 pts.)
Thompson got Florida on the board just 1:47 into the game, giving the 'Blades faithful the first taste of a newly-installed goal horn with Florida's fastest goal to start a game this season. Olivier Dame-Malka started the play, sending a perfect backhand pass through the neutral zone to Steven Lorentz. Lorentz raced along the right side into the zone and dropped a pass to Shane Walsh, who fired the puck on net. South Carolina goaltender Parker Milner stopped Walsh's try but let a juicy rebound into the slot where Thompson was waiting to cash in.
The goal for Thompson was his fourth in his last five games, while Walsh's assist extended his point streak to four games. He has scored a point in every game since being acquired in a trade with the Reading Royals on Nov. 18.
The Everblades wasted no time adding another as Winiecki potted his fifth goal in his last five games 35 seconds later. Patrick McCarron found space in the right corner and fed Winiecki at the top of the crease, where he lifted the puck over Milner's shoulder to increase the lead to 2-0 at the 2:22 mark of the opening frame.
The Stingrays climbed back within one 2:03 into the second period. With South Carolina on a three-on-two rush, Tim Harrison snuck a wrist shot past the glove of Jamie Phillips to make it a 2-1 game.
The 'Blades reclaimed their two-goal lead over the Stingrays in the early stages of the third as Derek Sheppard netted his fourth power-play goal of the season. At the top of the left circle, he leg-kicked to fake a shot before firing a laser past the glove of Milner to give Florida a 3-1 lead 2:15 into the final frame.
Lorentz capped the scoring with his third point of the night, an empty-net goal with 18:49 left in the game. He picked up his fifth multi-point game (1g, 2a) of the season in the victory.
Phillips (7-2-1-0) earned his seventh win for the 'Blades as he turned away all but one of the 26 shots fired his way. Milner (5-3-0) received the loss, allowing three goals on 34 shots.
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Florida Everblades forward Blake Winiecki (41)
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