Winiecki's Two-Goal Game Leads 'Blades to Eighth Straight Win
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - Blake Winiecki scored twice for the third time in the last five games to push the Florida Everblades to their eighth straight victory, a 4-3 triumph over the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday night at North Charleston Coliseum.
In the third game of a four-game week, the Everblades (45-15-5-0, 95 pts.) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on South Carolina (28-30-5-1, 62 pts.) in the first six minutes and never trailed the rest of the way in their first win in four games that did not require overtime.
Just 1:04 into the opening frame, Derek Sheppard unloaded a shot from the left point that Philippe Hudon deflected past South Carolina goaltender Parker Milner from between the circles to make it a 1-0 Everblades' lead. Hudon also assisted on the game-winning goal for his first career multi-point game.
Florida then doubled its advantage on its first power play of the night at the 5:47 mark of the first period. Upon receiving a pass in the right circle, Michael Neville dished to the slot for Blake Winiecki, who redirected it past Milner.
With a delayed penalty coming to the Everblades, South Carolina scored on the ensuing extra-attacker situation to close its deficit to one. Jordan Samuels-Thomas sprung Grant Besse on a breakaway with a feed from the neutral zone, and Besse finished the play by beating Everblades goaltender Jeremy Helvig with a five-hole shot with 7:11 left in the first.
Ben Masella propelled Florida back ahead by two with his sixth goal of the season at the 9:52 mark of period two. On a great give-and-go sequence with Patrick Bajkov, Masella created the scoring chance by picking off a pass outside the 'Blades line. Masella and Bajkov then each exchanged two passes, and Masella ripped a one-time shot from the inside edge of the right circle to finish the sequence.
Besse netted his second of the night to pull the Stingrays back within one with less than seven minutes left in the second. As the puck came loose in the slot, Besse gathered it and fired it over the glove of Helvig to make it a 3-2 game.
But Winiecki stepped up with another pivotal goal, providing what proved to be the game-winning strike with 9:46 left in regulation. On a rush down the right wing, Hudon raced through the right circle and fed Winiecki at the back post for a one-time shot that beat Milner.
South Carolina again closed the gap to one goal, but Miles Liberati's tally with 2:43 left in regulation was the final goal of the night for the Stingrays.
Helvig finished with 22 saves to earn his sixth straight victory.
Florida will aim for a sweep of its four-game week when it faces the Stingrays on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. at North Charleston Coliseum.
Ticket packages for the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Smile Direct Club and 2019-20 Season Tickets and Flexible Packages are on sale now!
Join the FUN and 'Blades FAMILY by SAVING with Season Tickets or a Flexible Package that fit into your schedule and budget, plus receive FREE gifts and benefits!
SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new Season Ticket or Flexible Package for the 2019-20 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford's Garage and an Everblades tote bag!
Private tours of Hertz Arena are available to select your season seats! Call the Florida Everblades Front Office at 239-948-7825 to schedule your tour today!
• Discuss this story on the ECHL message board...
ECHL Stories from March 16, 2019
- Mavericks Falter in Third Period, Fall 6-2 to Tulsa - Kansas City Mavericks
- Bourke and Solar Bears Take Down Steelheads, 6-2 - Orlando Solar Bears
- Oilers Clinch Playoff Spot with Third Period Comeback - Tulsa Oilers
- Riley Tells Growlers to Sit, Stay in 6-4 Thunder Win - Adirondack Thunder
- Besse Nets Two But SC Comes up Short to Blades - South Carolina Stingrays
- Houser Perfect as 'Clones Clip Wings - Cincinnati Cyclones
- Houser, Cyclones Blank K-Wings 3-0 - Kalamazoo Wings
- Fuel Stifle Royals in St. Patrick's Day Victory in Reading - Indy Fuel
- Winiecki's Two-Goal Game Leads 'Blades to Eighth Straight Win - Florida Everblades
- Nailers Unlucky in Toledo - Wheeling Nailers
- Schmidt Scores 20th of Season, Royals Fall at Home to Indy, 5-1 - Reading Royals
- Growlers Struggle in Glens Falls, Fall 6-4 - Newfoundland Growlers
- Railers Leap Frog into Playoff Spot After 5-3 Home Win over Mariners - Worcester Railers HC
- Steelheads Taken Down by Solar Bears, 6-2 - Idaho Steelheads
- Mariners Drop Back and Forth Affair in Worcester - Maine Mariners
- Beast Drop Second Straight, Lose 4-1 to Fort Wayne - Brampton Beast
- Game Preview: Solar Bears vs. Steelheads - Orlando Solar Bears
- Goaltender Colton Point Called up to Texas Stars - Idaho Steelheads
- Fuel and IceHogs Swap Players - Indy Fuel
- ECHL Transactions - March 16 - ECHL
- Cyclones Game Preview: vs. Kalamazoo Wings - Cincinnati Cyclones
- Nailers at Walleye Game Day Snap Shot, March 16 - Wheeling Nailers
- Mavericks Inch Closer to Postseason Berth with 3-2 Win over Wichita - Kansas City Mavericks
- Game Day: K-Wings and Cyclones Square off for Final Time this Season - Kalamazoo Wings
- Game Day: One Fan Will Win $10,000 If Royals Player Gets Hat Trick in Rematch vs. Fuel - Reading Royals
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Florida Everblades Stories
- Big Ben: Masella's Four-Point Game Lifts 'Blades over IceMen in Game 5
- Berdin Stymies Everblades in Jacksonville's Game 4 Win
- Late Comeback Falls Short in Game 3 Loss to IceMen
- 'Blades Weekly: Division Semifinals Series with IceMen Shifts to Jacksonville
- Bajkov Returned from AHL's Springfield Thunderbirds