Offense Aplenty in Florida’s 8-3 Thumping of Atlanta

Hockey Fights Cancer A Great Success

Despite a quality first period that included 12 saves for Colton Phinney and another goal from the Garret Ross-Justin MacDonald-Nolan LaPorte line, the Atlanta Gladiators fell to the Florida Everblades 8-3 Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of Hockey Fights Cancer Weekend.

Thanks to Chris Belser and my2two9 for hanging out at the Infinite Energy Arena keeping our ECHL Fans #LockedIN.

 

The Gladiators opened the afternoon matinee, scoring just :92 seconds into the contest. Ben Danford won a puck battle in the defensive zone, springing the break. He found Nolan LaPorte, who fed Garret Ross at center ice. Ross puck-handled around Josh Wesley and walked in on the net, garnering all the defensive attention. Ross found Justin MacDonald for the wide open goal on the back side of Florida goalie, Jeremy Helvig. 

The visitors answered quickly in the second period. Zach Nastasiuk gathered a wild rebound from the boards behind the net. He wrapped around the crease to push the puck beyond Phinney’s reach and leveled the game.

At the 4:41 mark, the Everblades struck again. Kyle Platzer won a puck battle behind the net before wrapping around the goal and centering the puck right in front of Phinney. Blake Winiecki chipped the short-range chance by the Glads goalie to give Florida the lead.

The Florida second period wave came to a crest at the 12:30 mark. A mishandled pass by Atlanta allowed Joe Cox a breakaway chance. All alone, he beat Phinney to give Florida the commanding 3-1 lead.

Florida struck again at the 13:03 mark on the power play. Derek Sheppard walked a puck down the slot, but his shot was rebounded directly to Nastasiuk. He found Cox for the tight angle shot that beat Phinney. That was followed by another penalty by Atlanta, leading to another Everblades power play score. Jordon Southorn earned open ice just below the blue line. Cox found Southorn and his wrist shot extended the lead to 5-1.

The rich got richer at the 2:41 mark of the second. A bobbled pass by Atlanta led to a breakaway for Tommy Thompson. He found the back of the net, closing a six-goal period for Florida.

 Atlanta began the third period showing signs of offense, as Alex Overhardt fed Derek Nesbitt at the blue line off of a face-off win. Nesbitt’s wrist shot beat Helvig for Atlanta’s second goal. Florida immediately answered as John McCarron intercepted the puck at center ice. He fed Winiecki on the breakaway and the Everblades answered the Gladiator tally.

Atlanta was not done, as MacDonald fed a wide open Danford at the point. He buried the shot for the power play goal. But, as if by script, Florida answered just :22 seconds later. Cox intercepted an errant Atlanta pass and found Platzer at the top of the crease. He finished the one-timer and regained Florida’s five-goal advantage for good.

The loss keeps Atlanta at 10 points on the year, while Florida is lifted to 16 points on the young campaign.

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