Johnson's Fourth Shutout and Solow's Game-Winner Propel Everblades to 2-0 Lead in Eastern Conference Finals
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Cam Johnson registered his fourth shutout of the postseason and Zach Solow scored the game-winning goal for the second consecutive contest, this time snapping a scoreless tie at 12:08 of the second period to lift the Florida Everblades to a 2-0 victory over the Newfoundland Growlers in Game Two of the ECHL Kelly Cup Eastern Conference Finals Sunday night at Mary Brown's Centre. With a second consecutive road victory to open the series, the Everblades will return to Hertz Arena with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Swamp will be the site of Game Three on Wednesday night at 7:30 pm, the first of three potential matchups taking place in Estero as the Blades and Growlers continue their battle for the E.A. "Bud" Gingher Memorial Trophy for Eastern Conference supremacy.
With his league-leading fourth shutout of the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs, Johnson (9-0-1) continued his stellar play between the pipes for the Everblades this postseason, recording 25 saves to earn his seventh consecutive win and ninth overall victory, which is tied for the league lead. With four shutouts, Johnson is the only ECHL goaltender to post multiple clean sheets in the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The visiting Everblades came out of the locker room firing, taking the game's first nine shots on goal. Despite claiming a 10-1 edge through the game's first 10 minutes, Florida was unable to put the puck behind Newfoundland goalie Keith Petruzzelli. Over the remainder of the first stanza for the visitors, Johnson registered several acrobatic saves with the Growlers going on back-to-back power plays from 9:39 through the 14:00 mark, but he denied the hosts on six separate scoring attempts. Coincidental minors at the 15:20 mark treated the fans to two minutes of four-on-four hockey, but the scoreless stalemate continued into the first intermission with the Everblades holding a 12-7 shot advantage.
In the second period, the 0-0 deadlock continued past the game's midpoint, but the Everblades managed to break through at the 12:08 mark. Solow, the hero of Game One, redirected a shot from the left point by Stefan Leblanc past Petruzzelli to stake the visitors to a 1-0 lead. For the Naples native, the goal was his fifth of the playoffs, moving him into a tie for the team lead. Solow's marker held up for the remainder of the middle stanza, as the Everblades' 1-0 advantage held up into the second intermission. Florida outshot the Growlers 13-9 to bump their advantage to 25-16 after 40 minutes of play.
Late in the third period, Ben Masella gave the Everblades some breathing room, picking up an empty-net goal with 42 seconds left in the contest.
On the night, the Everblades stymied all five Newfoundland power-play opportunities, one game removed from the Growlers converting twice on three power plays. Additionally, the Everblades outshot the Growlers 33-25. Petruzzelli made 31 saves for Newfoundland, but came up short for the second straight game in his quest for a ninth postseason victory in 2022.
For Everblades head coach Brad Ralph, the Game Two victory came in his 100th ECHL playoff game as a head coach. Ralph is the league's all-time leader with 57 head coaching wins.
Tickets for Games Three and Four in Estero on Wednesday, March 25 and Friday, March 27 are on sale at the Hertz Arena Fifth Third Box Office and via Ticketmaster. The puck drops both nights at 7:30 pm. To learn more, call or text (239) 948-7825 or purchase HERE.
Fans unable to catch any of the Eastern Conference Finals games in person can watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV. In addition, fans can listen to the exciting game action online via Mixlr at www.mixlr.com/florida-everblades or on ESPN Southwest Florida on 770 AM, 98.1 FM, 104.3 FM.
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ECHL Stories from May 22, 2022
- Johnson's Fourth Shutout and Solow's Game-Winner Propel Everblades to 2-0 Lead in Eastern Conference Finals - Florida Everblades
- Growlers Shutout 2-0 by Everblades in Game Two - Newfoundland Growlers
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- Everblades Gunning for 2-0 Series Lead in Eastern Conference Finals - Florida Everblades
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