Hoppy Trails: 'Blades Down Swamp Rabbits, 4-1
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Matt Finn tallied three points, Jeremy Helvig finished with 23 saves, and the Florida Everblades scored twice on special teams to hop past the Greenville Swamp Rabbits with a 4-1 win on Saturday night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
In the final regular-season meeting between the two teams, Florida (32-9-5-0, 69 pts.) scored once shorthanded and once on the power play to finish the season series with an undefeated record against Greenville (14-29-3-2, 33 pts.) in the 10 total meetings.
For the first time in three games, Florida scored first and did it in a hurry. With the 'Blades on a five-minute major penalty kill, Kyle Platzer saw Joe Cox racing ahead and fed him the puck with a tape-to-tape pass. On the ensuing breakaway, Cox tucked it forehand behind Greenville goaltender Garrett Bartus after deking on his backhand to give Florida a 1-0 lead only 4:53 into the game.
Then, late in the first period, Finn registered his first point of the night, setting up Tommy Thompson for a goal against Thompson's former team. From the left-wing wall, Finn whipped the puck to Thompson at the edge of the right circle for a one-timer that beat Bartus glove side with 1:15 left in the opening period.
Florida then increased its lead to four on a pair of goals less than three minutes apart in the second period. Finn started the scoring sequence on the 'Blades third goal of the night, pulling the puck around a player as he carried from the high slot to the top of the right circle. Although Bartus stopped Finn's initial shot from the top of the right circle, John McCarron found the rebound and shoveled it in for his 20th goal of the season six minutes, 23 seconds into the second.
Finn then scored his second in as many games off a great feed from Blake Winiecki to cap the scoring for Florida. Winiecki started the rush into the offensive zone and pirouetted around a Swamp Rabbits player to create space. From the right-wing wall, Winiecki found Finn racing into the zone and zipped a pass to the top of the left circle. Finn hammered the rink-wide pass upstairs on Bartus to increase the lead to 4-0 only 2:19 after the third goal.
Greenville spoiled Helvig's shutout on a power-play goal from Kamerin Nault with 5:33 left in the game.
Helvig extended his personal win streak to 12 games, which is now tied for the fourth-longest streak in ECHL history.
Florida now returns home for six straight games over the next two weeks. Florida starts that stretch with a three-game series against the Adirondack Thunder. The series opener is slated for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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ECHL Stories from February 2, 2019
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