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Everblades Claim Third Straight over Growlers

May 25, 2022 - ECHL (ECHL) - Florida Everblades News Release

ESTERO, Fla. -- The Everblades bolstered their lead in the Eastern Conference Finals three games to none on Wednesday night as they held on for a 4-3 victory against the Newfoundland Growlers in Game Three at Hertz Arena.

Wednesday was the first game of the series where an Everblades goal was scored in the first period. After taking a drop pass from Stefan Leblanc, Alex Aleardi raced into the offensive zone and blistered a shot past Keith Petruzzelli 26 seconds into the game. Aleardi's fourth strike of the postseason marked the second straight game that the Blades jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

Stefan Leblanc (12:44) added to the Blades' advantage on a slapshot from the blue line after 14 seconds of a power play. Newfoundland cut the deficit in half to 2-1 courtesy of Orrin Centazzo at the 13:32 mark. The Growlers saw more quality chances in the final minute of the first period, but goaltender Cam Johnson held onto the Florida lead at the first intermission.

The Growlers tied the score 2-2 at the eight-minute mark of second period action with Jeremy McKenna's power play conversion. However, Chris McKay's buzzer-beating slapper gave the Everblades a 3-2 edge with seven tenths of a second remaining on the clock. Entering the third stanza, both teams were one-for-three on the power play and the Blades controlled the shots on net category 21-15.

Florida continued their success on the man advantage when it mattered the most. Lukas Kaelble (8:21) buried one from the high slot for his first lamp lighter of the season and his second in an Everblades uniform to make it 4-2. After missing the first two games of the series, Newfoundland's Zach O'Brien (13:58) made it a one-goal difference again as he backhanded the puck across Johnson's crease.

Despite the Growlers using their timeout, the Everblades held off any remaining chances and hung on for the 4-3 win. The outcome extended the team's win streak to eight games. Johnson advanced his playoff record to 10-0-1 after stopping 25 of 28 shots in the game.

The Everblades and Growlers continue the Eastern Conference Finals with Game Four this Friday, May 27 in Estero. The action begins at 7:30pm and tickets are on sale at the Hertz Arena Fifth Third Box Office and via Ticketmaster. To learn more, call or text (239) 948-7825.

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