Epic Rally Comes up Short in 7-6 OT Loss in Game Four
ESTERO, FL. - The Colorado Eagles scored four goals in the last 9:02 of the third period to tie the game at 6-6, but a Gus Young shot from the circle in overtime would give Florida the 7-6 win in Game Four on Friday. The Eagles went 5-for-9 on the power play and added a shorthanded goal in the loss. The Everblades win now evens the best-of-seven Kelly Cup Final series at 2-2 heading into Game Five on Saturday.
Florida hopped on the board first when forward Justin Kea grabbed the puck in his own zone and weaved his way down the ice before beating Eagles goalie Joe Cannata with a shot from the slot to give the Everblades the 1-0 edge at the 11:37 mark of the first period.
Less than five minutes later, a face-off in the Colorado zone would wind up on the tape of Florida forward Stephen MacAulay on top of the crease and he would feed the puck into the back of the net to stretch the Everblades advantage to 2-0 with 4:01 remaining in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Down by a pair, the Eagles would strike back in the second period when defenseman Matt Register buried a one-timer from the blue line on the power play to trim the Florida lead to 2-1 at the 8:30 mark of the period. Colorado would then find the game-tying goal just over two minutes later when forward Matt Garbowsky completed a shorthanded breakaway with a back hander from the top of the crease to even the score at 2-2. The goal was Garbowsky's second shorthanded tally in as many games.
With the Everblades still on the power play, forward Joe Cox would tip a shot from the point past Cannata to put Florida back on top, 3-2 with 8:18 left in the middle frame. A quick slapshot from the left circle from forward Mitch Heard just 2:12 later would light the lamp and give the Everblades a 4-2 lead at the 14:54 mark of the period.
After Eagles forward Shawn St-Amant was yanked down to the ice by a high-stick to the face, a 2-on-1 rush ensued for Florida and Heard would tap a rebound along the goal line into the net to grow the Everblades advantage to 5-2 with 18 seconds left in the second stanza.
Sam Brittain would take over in net for Colorado to start the third period, but an early breakaway for forward Steven Lorentz would beat Brittain and give Florida a 6-2 lead just 1:13 into the final frame.
With the midway point of the period already eclipsed, a series of penalties, including a match penalty to Heard would give Colorado an extended stay on the power play. Eagles defenseman Cliff Watson would be the first to strike with a shot from the circle that would beat Ouellette and cut the Everblades lead to 6-3 with 9:02 left in the period.
After Heard received his five-minute major for head-butting, Colorado defenseman Matt Register would light the lamp with a blast from between the circles that would pull the Eagles to within a pair with 3:12 left to play. Next, it would be forward J.C. Beaudin would smack home a loose puck at the side of the net on the man-advantage to slim the Everblades edge to just 6-5 with 1:58 remaining in the final frame.
Taking advantage of the time still remaining on the power play, forward Joey Ratelle would take a drop pass in the slot and hammer a shot past Ouellette to tie the game at 6-6 with only 58 seconds to play in regulation.
With the two teams headed to overtime, Colorado would fail to convert on an early power play before Young snagged the puck off a faceoff and fired a wrister from the top of the circle that would get past Brittain and give Florida the 7-6 win at the 8:28 mark of sudden-death.
The Kelly Cup Finals continue with Game Five on Saturday, June 2nd at 5:00pm MT at Germaine Arena in Estero, Florida. Tickets for all home games in the Kelly Cup Final are sale now and can be purchased at the BEC box office, online at ColoradoEagles.com or by calling (970) 686-SHOT.
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