Seventh Heaven: 'Blades Run Win Streak to Four with 7-3 Win
NORFOLK, Va. - Blake Winiecki and Kyle Platzer both registered two goals and the Florida Everblades scored three times in both the first and third periods to earn a 7-3 win over the Norfolk Admirals on Friday night at the Norfolk Scope.
Steven Lorentz (1g, 2a) and John McCarron (3a) also registered multi-point games for Florida (9-5-2-0, 20 pts.), which extended its season-long winning streak to four games and jumped Norfolk (9-7-0-1, 19 pts.) for second place in the South Division.
After Norfolk started the scoring four minutes, 12 seconds into the first on a goal from Jake Wood, Florida scored the final three goals of the opening frame to take a 3-1 lead to the locker room.
Florida tied the score at one on the first of the night for Winiecki. McCarron picked off a Norfolk pass to keep the puck in the offensive zone and fired a shot on Norfolk netminder Brad Barone from the high slot. Although Barone made the stop, Winiecki found the rebound and beat Barone to knot the score just 90 seconds after the Admirals goal.
The 'Blades then struck twice in the last 121 seconds of the first period to take a two-goal lead. Zach Nastasiuk punched a rebound past Barone at the left side of the net to make it a 2-1 Florida edge with 2:01 to play in the opening frame. Winiecki propelled Florida ahead by two with his second of the night with 35 seconds remaining in the first.
Norfolk drew within one near the halfway point of the second period on a goal from Zane Schartz. Jalen Smereck slid the puck to Schartz at the top of the right circle and his shot beat Florida goaltender Jeremy Helvig to trim Norfolk's deficit to 3-2.
Florida responded within five minutes to extend the lead back to two. Moments after Helvig made a save on a Norfolk 2-on-1 rush, Lorentz raced ahead and slipped a shot past backup goaltender Ty Reichenbach's right pad with 7:16 left in the middle frame.
The back-and-forth second period continued as Norfolk again pulled within a goal with just more than two minutes to go. John Gustaffson beat Helvig blocker side with a slap shot from the left wing to whittle the Everblades' lead to 4-3.
Norfolk then had a chance to tie the game at the end of the second when Wood was awarded a penalty shot as time expired. But Helvig stopped Wood with arguably his biggest save of the night to preserve the lead.
Florida took over in the third period, scoring the final three goals of the game in its second-highest offensive output of the season. Tommy Thompson initiated the scoring in the third, creating a turnover and finishing off the sequence with his third goal of the season off assists from Shane Walsh and Lorentz.
Platzer struck for both of the Everblades' final two goals to cushion the lead down the stretch in the third. He netted his first of the night just one minute, 26 seconds after Thompson's tally to make it a 6-3 game. Then with exactly five minutes left in the game, Platzer converted off a feed from Lorentz on a 2-on-1 rush for the final goal of the night. With his two-goal night, Platzer now has four straight multi-point games.
Winiecki's two-goal game was his second multi-goal night in his last three games. Lorentz had his fourth multi-point effort of the season, and McCarron's three-point night was his third multi-point game of the season.
Helvig picked up his second straight win and third in his last four starts with a 22-save effort.
Florida will aim for the three-game sweep of Norfolk on Saturday. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Norfolk Scope.
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Florida Everblades vs. the Norfolk Admirals
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