Special Teams Lift Thunder to 3-1 Win over 'Blades
ESTERO, Fla. - Brian Ward scored two power-play goals and Evan Cormier made 26 saves to help the Adirondack Thunder halt the Florida Everblades' seven-game home winning streak with a 3-1 victory at Hertz Arena on Friday night.
Adirondack (26-17-3-2, 57 pts.) scored twice on three power-play opportunities and went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill to pave the way for a rubber match in the three-game series.
The Thunder struck first with a four-on-three power-play goal from Ward at 18:27 of the first period. John Edwardh whipped a pass across the middle of the ice to Ward in the left circle, and Ward quickly corralled the puck and wired a shot past Florida goaltender Jamie Phillips 17 seconds into the power play.
After Phillips made a critical save on Edwardh in the first five minutes of the second period, the 'Blades came back down the ice and tied the game on Stathis Soumelidis' first ECHL goal. On a two-on-one rush, Kyle Platzer sent a pass from the edge of the right circle to Soumelidis in the low slot, and Soumelidis slammed the puck past Cormier at the 4:35 mark of the second period.
But Ward pushed the Thunder back ahead for good with his second of the night less than nine minutes later. After Josh Wesley blocked his initial chance from the left circle, Ward picked up the loose puck and fired it past Phillips from between the circles.
Edwardh struck for what ended up being the final tally of the night with 2:33 left in the second period. Off a breakout pass from Matt Salhany, Edwardh scored on the ensuing breakaway, his third point of the game (1g-2a).
Florida had a pair of power plays in the third period, including a five-on-three advantage in the last five minutes, but couldn't find the back of the net again.
Phillips finished with 24 saves on 27 shots in just his second home loss of the season.
Florida will go for the series victory on Saturday night, which is Pink in the Rink. Faceoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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