With a 5-4 victory over the Ontario Reign on October 27, the Florida Everblades continued a season-opening winning streak that improved the team’s record to a perfect 5-0.
Sunday night’s win did not come easily, as the Blades survived a furious comeback by the home team before a near-capacity crowd of 7,193.
By the mid-point of the contest at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Southern California, Florida seized a 4-1 lead behind a pair of first period tallies from Rocco Carzo, as well as strikes from A.J. Jenks and Matthew Pistelli.
Blades’ goalie Jesse Deckert proceeded to yield three unanswered goals, including two in the third period that evened the game and necessitated overtime. The second-year net-minder from the University of Manitoba deflected 23 of 27 Reign shots, while Ontario’s German-born Mathias Niederberger faced only 18 attempts from the surging Blades.
Competing in his fourth season for Florida, Pistelli made his opportunities count, however, as the 25 year-old Quebec native posted the game-winner 32 seconds into added time by punching his own rebound into the back of the net. Pistell’s second goal of the night gave the forward a team-leading five scores, while the Everblades top the entire ECHL with 24 total goals on the young season.
The team’s third triumph in three nights further represented its second overtime win over Ontario. The prior meeting on Friday was decided by the same 5-4 score, though Florida used a shootout to claim victory.
After sweeping a pair of contests from the Orlando Solar Bears to begin the 2013-14 campaign, the Blades hit the road for a rare four game trip against Western Conference opponents. Sandwiched between dates with the Reign, the Blades dominated the nearby Bakersfield Condors by a margin of 6-2 on Saturday night.
Following a much-needed day of rest (and additional travel), the distant road trip will conclude under the bright lights of “Sin City,” when Florida meets the Las Vegas Wranglers on Tuesday, October 29, at 10:05 p.m. EDT.
The Wranglers are reeling, since the Pacific Division club was swept in a three-game series at home by the Alaska Aces over the weekend. The contest at Orleans Arena is a re-match of the 2012 Kelly Cup Finals, in which the Blades bested their opponents in five games to claim the franchise’s first ECHL championship.
Florida returns to Germain Arena on Friday, November 1, to continue its in-state rivalry with the Solar Bears with a game beginning at 7:30 p.m.
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