Johnson's Shutout Leads Everblades Past K-Wings
ESTERO, Fla. - Cam Johnson posted his second shutout of the season, Jake Smith came up big for the second-straight game and Dominic Franco extended his point streak to nine games, as the Florida Everblades cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings Wednesday night at Hertz Arena.
Johnson made 20 saves en route to the clean sheet, while Smith snapped a scoreless tie with a power play goal just over five minutes into the third period for the Blades (10-3-2-1).
Playing just his second game in a Blades sweater, Smith's game winner came just four nights after he sent Saturday's contest versus Orlando into overtime with a game-tying goal with under two minutes left in regulation.
Florida's Xavier Cormier added an insurance goal at 14:56 of the third period, beating Kalamazoo goaltender Evan Cormier, who made 31 saves in a losing effort.
Franco added a marker at 18:47 of the third to extend his point streak to nine games, the longest current point streak in the ECHL.
Kalamazoo (7-7-1-0) had its three-game road winning streak come to an end.
Neither team managed to solve the opposing goalie in either of the first two periods. The Everblades (10-3-2-1) outshot Kalamazoo 34-29. After both teams put eight shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes, the Everblades claimed a 12-7 edge in the middle stanza and a 14-5 advantage in the final period.
The Blades and Wings will wrap up their two-game set Saturday night at Hertz Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 p.m.
5:04 Florida J. Smith 6 PP (C. Moberg, B. Winiecki)
14:56 Florida X. Cormier 2 (K. McDonald)
18:47 Florida D. Franco 4 (J. Pendenza, B. Masella)
Kalamazoo - Evan Cormier, 31 Saves
Florida - Cam Johnson, 20 Saves
Shots on Goal - Kalamazoo 20, Florida 34
Power Plays - Kalamazoo 0-4, Florida 1-3
Shorthanded Goals - Kalamazoo 0, Florida 0
Penalties (Minutes) - Kalamazoo 3 (6) Florida 4 (8)
NEWS AND NOTES
The Everblades are 17-3-5 all-time against Kalamazoo. The Blades and K-Wings last met in Michigan back in 2020, with Florida picking up a pair of wins, 6-3 on January 15 and 4-1 on January 18. Wednesday's contest marked the K-Wings' first appearance in Southwest Florida since the Blades took two of three from their northern rivals March 29-April 1, 2017.
For the first time this season, the Everblades found themselves in a 0-0 contest after two periods.
The scoreless first period marked the first time in eight games that neither the Everblades nor their opponent lit the lamp in the first 20 minutes of a contest, following a four-game string of scoreless opening frames.
Florida allowed just eight shots on goal in the opening frame, seven shots in the middle stanza and a stingy five in the final period, making it five straight periods and seven out of the last eight periods that the Blades allowed less than 10 shots.
Helpers by Blake Winiecki and Cole Moberg on Jake Smith's game-winner saw both players get back in the assist column. For Winiecki, the assist was his first in seven games, while Moberg picked an apple for the first time in six contests.
Kody McDonald picked up the sole assist on Xavier Cormier's goal, McDonald's first point of the year in his 12th game of the season.
Dominic Franco's nine-game point streak (4 G, 6 A) is the longest current point streak in the ECHL.
Joe Pendenza ran his point streak to six games (2 G, 5 A) with an assist on Franco's late goal.
Ben Masella picked up at least one point for the third straight contest, as he has three assists and a goal in his last three games.
The Everblades and Kalamazoo Wings will faceoff again at Hertz Arena Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7:00 p.m. Get into character with us as your Blades will don specialty Scooby Doo jerseys for DC Comic/Warner Bros. character night! Themed intermission games and activities will transform Hertz Arena for the night. Following the game, fans are able to skate with the players on a first-come first-served basis. And don't forget, we will also have live music for our Saturday Tailgate party!
JOIN THE FUN
Purchase a new Voucher 12 package that allows you to use 12 tickets in any quantity during the 2022-23 season to earn the exclusive benefits of being a Blades 365 Member! To view the Blades 365 Membership savings, benefits and options click HERE.
Everblades put the FUN in FUNdraising! There is no handling of money or tickets and no limit to the amount of money your group can make with the Everblades easy-to-run online Fundraiser! For more information, or to reserve a Fundraiser Night at an Everblades regular season home game, call or text (239) 948-7825.
Calling all Everblades fans! Be among the first hockey fans in Southwest Florida to show off your pride in the newly-crowned Kelly Cup Champion Florida Everblades! Grab the newest and hottest merchandise by checking out the entire collection that is available online by visiting shop.floridaeverblades.com or at the Hertz Arena Pro Shop!
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV. Listen to the exciting game action on ESPN Southwest Florida on 770 AM, 98.1 FM, 104.3 FM and online at https://espnswfl.com or everblades.mixlr.com.
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