The Everblades took on the Gwinnett Gladiators in back to back games Friday and Saturday. It's obvious the team still has some kinks to work out, they're far from perfect, but there were glimmers of hope.
Friday- Everblades 3- Gladiators 2 (Shootout)
The Blades started the game off on the wrong foot by giving up the first goal in the opening minutes to Gwinnett. Luckily, a goal from Mitch Fadden, and assisted by Mike Kennedy evened it up. Later, in the second period Cedric Lalonde-McNicoll gave the Blades the lead with an assist from Bobby Raymond on the power play. The Gladiators couldn't be held off and managed to even it up on the power play in the third.
Neither team could get ahead for the rest of the period, and in the end, the game had to go into overtime. With both teams fielding the four players there was a little more room, and the pace sped up. With less than two minutes left in the period both teams received coincidental roughing penalties. This forced them to play a three on three for the remainder of overtime. Both teams had some great chances but neither could put the nail in the coffin, making a shootout neccessary.
I was very impressed by Bobby Goepferts preformance in the shootout. He completely stonewalled the Gladiators, denying them at every turn. Goals from Alexandre Imbeault and Mitch Fadden secured the Everblades the shootout win and the extra point.
Saturday- Everblades 3- Gladiators 5
I wish I could say Saturdays game was better, but I can't. Once again the Everblades gave up the first goal, this time on the power play. Unfortunately, they didn't answer back until late in the first period after Gwinnetts second goal with an even strength tally from Francis Lemieux assisted by Roy and Imbeault. After that, the game quickly spiraled out of control in the second when the Gladiators took the game over completely. They managed to score three unanswered goals to put themselves up 5-1 on the Blades. If it hadn't been for a fight late in the third the Blades may never had regained any life.
For some reason, a Gladiators player decided that hacking at goalie Bobby Goepferts glove after the whistle was a good idea. Obviously our the Everblades players didn't take to kindly to that. After a tussle, Elgin Reid absolutely dominated Gwinnett's Chris Poli in a fierce tussle. After everything was sorted out 14 minutes in penalties were assesed.
With a little wind in their sails, the Everblades managed to score two goals. A power play tally from Matthew Pistilli and assisted by Mike McKenzie and Cedric Lalonde-McNicoll, as well as a goal at the 19:50 mark in the period from Lalonde-McNicoll, and assisted by McKenzie and Phil Paquet.
Of course, the Blades were unable to score two more goals in the last 50 seconds of the game. In the end, they couldn't overcome their lackluster performance and split the series with the Gladiators.