Thursday, December 23, 2010

Re-Cap: Everblades vs. Gladiators (12/22/10)

There has never been any love lost between the Gladiators and Everblades. In fact, the Gladiators are probably the Everblades most hated rival. You may remember a post on the rivalry from the off-season, but if you missed it give it a look.

When your most hated rival comes to town on a seven game losing streak and you hand them their eighth, you can be sure the next night is going to be intense.

Owly Images
(As promised, here's Bobby Goepfert's new  Everblades mask)


The play was pretty evenly matched for most of the first. Then, Lightning prospect Mitch Fadden was hauled down on a breakaway. The Ref awarded him a penalty shot:

Fadden's 14th goal of the year gave the Blades the lead. Mike McKenzie followed that up with his 11th goal of the year a minute and a half later. The Gladiators tried to even it up, and they had a lot of good chances, but Bobby Goepfert stayed strong and the teams left the ice with the Everblades leading 2-0.


The second period started off like any other. Apparently, this was the calm before the storm. A Gwinnett goal around the six minute mark helped them narrow the lead.About four minutes later, Jared Staal notched his fourth of the year to give the Blades a two goal lead once again. The Gladiators responded with one of their own less than a minute later. A mere 15 seconds later, McKenzie responded with his second goal of the game to make it 4-2. You could tell passions were running high at this point. Then it happened.

Thirty seconds after McKenzie's goal a normal enough play ended in Goepfert freezing the puck. The usual little scuffle that happens when a teams been crashing the crease ensued. At some point something was said and it escalated to a big scuffle. It was hard to see what was going on in the corner, but from what I understand, one of the Gladiators was slamming Ethan Graham's head into the ice repeatedly. Bobby Goepfert didn't appreciate that. He jumped in to help his teammate, and the Gladiator goalies, Billy Sauer, came down to answer for his team. The already loud arena became deafening as the goalies squared off.

Florida Everblades 12/22/10 - goalie fight!
(Photo courtesy of Hockey Broad, check out more pictures she took last night on her Flickr photostream here, her awesome blog here, and her Twitter account here)

The rest, as they say, is history:

(I'm going to take a minute to plug another past post, my look at ECHL goalie fights is one of my best)

In the end, both goalies, and several players were tossed. The final tally of penalty minutes was something like 55 minutes. You can read the News-Press re-cap, with some great quotes from Goepfert, here. The Naples Daily News re-cap, with a diffrent angle of the fight is here.

It took a long time to sort all the penalties out. When all was said and done, and new goalies were in the net, the Everblades had a power play. a mere ten seconds in, Alex Imbeault scored his 16th of the year to make it a 5-2 game. In the closing minutes Imbeault recieved a game misconduct for being too awesome and leading the ECHL in goals for too long (actually, it was an unsportsmanlike conduct for having the nerve to argue with the ref). When the buzzer sounded on the end of the period, the Blades had a comfortable 5-2 lead.


The third period was an absolute bore compared to the second. It was so back and forth I felt like I was at a tennis game. The teams traded rushes and opportunities, but none of them were getting past the goalies. A late rush by the Everblades, made with seconds on the clock, resulted in the second goal of the game for Staal. Officially, it was at the 19-59 mark, but the clock had .05 left when he scored. Surprisingly, after everything that happened in the second period, the Glads quietly slipped off the ice as the Everblades celebrated are hard fought victory. On their way out, the Blades saluted the fans, and got a rousing cheer from the crowd in return. The game sheet is here.

The three stars:
3. Mitch Fadden
2. Bobby Goepfert
1. Mike McKenzie


This game was hands down the craziest and loudest I've ever seen in Germain. Games with the Gladiators are always physical, but this takes the cake. The next game against Gwinnett will be a road game on 1/11. They will be back in town for the Pink in the Rink game 2/18 and 2/19. I can't wait to see if this rivalry gets even more intense than it already is.

If you have video from the game please include a link in the comments or e-mail me. I'll be more than happy to include it in this post.

The Guys will now have some time off before they head on the road to take on Reading and Trenton in an exhausting four games in five days road trip. While the boys are away, the College Classic will be coming to town on the 28th and 29th. This years teams will be Maine, Cornell, St. Cloud State, and Miami. I loved it last year, and you should really consider coming out, one ticket will get you into the two games that day.

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