Happy Cam-Pers: Johnson Leads 'Blades to Shootout Win
ESTERO, Fla. - Blake Winiecki scored the lone goal in the shootout, and Cam Johnson turned away all three shooters he faced, as the Florida Everblades defeated the Jacksonville Icemen by a 3-2 score on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
In his first game since Dec. 4, Johnson was stellar in his return to the ice, stopping 37 shots in regulation and overtime, along with the perfect shootout, to lift the Everblades (27-11-2-2, 58 pts.) to their fifth straight win and 11th in their last 14 games.
The Icemen (13-21-4-1, 31 pts.) got on the scoreboard first on a power-play tally from Alexis D'Aoust at 5:40 of the first period. On an odd-man-rush into the zone, the Icemen were able to establish a presence in the offensive zone, and Chase Lang threw a puck on net from right outside the crease. The rebound found its way to the stick of D'Aoust who ripped a shot through a screen past the blocker of Johnson.
The 'Blades tied the game on a goal from captain John McCarron at 9:34 of the first. Following a faceoff win in the Jacksonville end, Logan Roe fired the puck through traffic from the right point, and McCarron managed to get a piece of the puck, redirecting it on the way past Jacksonville starting goaltender Griffen Outhouse.
The 'Blades then took their first lead of the game at the 13:29 mark of the first on Blake Winiecki's team-leading 18th goal of the season. With Florida buzzing in the Jacksonville end, Adam Smith sent the puck to Ben Masella for a slap pass that Winiecki managed to change the direction of from the slot to beat Outhouse.
After a scoreless second period, an injury to Outhouse early in the third period brought Adam Carlson into the net for the Icemen for the remainder of the game.
The 'Blades held their 2-1 lead until the 4:47 mark of the third period when Jacksonville's Dajon Mingo took the puck from the blue line into the slot and backhanded a shot past the blocker of Johnson to tie the game at two.
With just more than five minutes left in regulation, the 'Blades had a golden chance to regain the lead with a two-minute five-on-three power play. But the Icemen were able to keep the puck out of their net for the full two minutes to help force overtime.
Florida's Michael Huntebrinker made one last-ditch effort with 22 seconds left in regulation, as he split four Jacksonville players through the middle of the ice and came in alone on Adam Carlson. As he came in on Carlson, Huntebrinker flipped the puck and the horn initially sounded. However, Carlson was able to keep the puck from going completely over the line with a backward-diving glove save.
Following a scoreless overtime, Winiecki and Johnson teamed up to give the 'Blades the win. Winiecki shot first in the shootout and went five-hole on Carlson for what ended up being the lone goal of the shootout. Johnson then denied D'Aoust, Mingo and Wacey Rabbit to earn his sixth victory of the year.
The 'Blades have scored a total of 18 goals in the first period in their last ten home games after scoring only one first-period goal in their first 10 home games.
Florida is now 14-3-0-1 when leading after the first period.
John McCarron snapped a seven-game goal drought with his ninth tally of the season.
Blake Winiecki's shootout goal was the sixth of his career in only his 10th career attempt. Five of his six career shootout goals have been shootout-winning strikes.
Johnson's 37 saves were a career-high and a season-high for any 'Blades netminder. That save total surpassed Johnson's previous career-best of 36 saves against the Fort Wayne Komets from Nov. 1 of this season.
Saturday's shootout was Florida's first since a 3-2 shootout loss to the Icemen on Dec. 4. The Everblades are now 2-2 in shootouts this season.
The Everblades close out their mini three-game homestand with a Wednesday night matchup against the Fort Wayne Komets, Florida's final non-conference game of the year.
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