Nine Lives for Blades as Win Streak Continues
ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades (21-5-0-1) held off a late rally from the South Carolina Stingrays (9-8-6-2) to win their ninth straight game to the tune of a 6-5 shootout victory.
FIRST STAR: Matt Petgrave (FLA) - three assists, four shots, +2
SECOND STAR: Cole Ully (SC) - two goals, two assists, four shots, +2
THIRD STAR: Marcus Vela (FLA) - two goals, two shots, +1
Florida struck first early in the first period when forward Marcus Vela bagged his first tally of the season. Michael Huntebrinker lugged the puck into the South Carolina zone, dished across for Vela, and Vela whipped it past the Rays' goaltender Alex Dubeau (3:05).
After Vela got the goal monkey off his back earlier in the first frame, he did not wait long to grab his second of the year. On the power play, the puck found its way to Vela at the left circle, and the center snuck it under a diving Dubeau to give Florida a 2-0 lead (14:25).
Tommy Marchin took the Blades to 3-0 when he cashed in during the second period. Alex Kile played the puck from behind the Stingray net, and after a couple wacks, Marchin buried it behind Dubeau (4:28).
Alex Kile quickly followed Marchin's tally with a highlight-reel goal to put the Blades up 4-0. Kile pulled the puck back, dragged it between his legs, then cut into the blue paint and slid the disc underneath the South Carolina goaltender (6:17).
The Stingrays started their comeback when Brett Supinski scored on the power play with just under four minutes left in the second period to bring the game to 4-1 (16:03).
Less than a minute into the third period, Cole Ully tipped a puck out of midair and past Devin Cooley to score for South Carolina and cut Florida's lead to 4-2 (0:43). The Stingrays climbed even closer when Cole Fraser blasted a slap shot past Cooley later in the third to make it a 4-3 game (12:17).
South Carolina pulled Dubeau for the extra skater with a minute and a half left in the third, but Florida's Levko Koper broke free and hit the empty net to put the Blades up 5-3 (19:09). Half a minute later, the Stingrays' Matthew Wis tipped a puck into the Florida net to bring the game back to 5-4 (19:52). South Carolina won the ensuing faceoff and quickly entered the Florida zone. With one second left on the clock, Cole Ully fired a shot that got deflected past Devin Cooley and tied the game at 5-5 (19:59).
The Blades controlled the pace in the three-on-three overtime period, but neither team could find the back of the net.
Brad McClure led off the shootout with a hard wrister underneath the crossbar to give Florida the advantage. McClure's snipe was the only score of the shootout. Cooley stopped all three attempts from South Carolina, including an athletic blocker save on Brett Supinski to seal the ninth straight win for the Everblades.
The Everblades complete the week against the Stingrays on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7:00 p.m. at Hertz Arena. Enjoy the Saturday Tailgate Party featuring free live music from 3 Hour Tour from 5:00-7:00 p.m. outside of Hertz Arena!
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