It was no secret that the Everblades have a tough series on their hands. The Stingrays sit just above them in the standings. They had to show up and play their best. Aside from an unfortunate bounce and the usual horribly unbalanced ECHL officiating, the game went pretty well.
The Blades started the game strong. Two goals in the first four minutes of the period. The first, from Scott Pitt (assisted by Donald and Irwin), and the second, from Matt Marquardt (assisted by McNicoll and Galiardi), gave the Blades a quick lead.
Unfortunately, a few minutes later the Stingrays made a rush down the ice. A pass made right in front of the net bounced off Brayden Irwin's skate and right into the goal to make it 2-1. About four minutes later, Blades goalie John Muse made a pad save that served up a juicy rebound and a Stingrays forward had no trouble scoring the goal. There was no further scoring in the period. When the buzzer sounded, the teams left the ice to a 2-2 score.
The Blades opened up the second by scoring an early goal yet again. That goal, Sebastien Piche first goal of the season (assisted by Landry and Beca), gave the Blades a 3-2 lead. The Stingrays answered back four minutes later and made it a tie game yet again. That score remained when the period ended.
Throughout most of the third, both teams traded chances with neither coming out on top. Then almost 13 minutes into the period, Rylan Galiardi gave the blades their third lead of the game (assisted by Donald). Things were a bit tense toward the end of the third when back to back penalties on th eBlades led to a pretty extended period of 5 on 3. Thanks to some of the best hustle I've seen, the Blades were able to kill both penalties. The fans gave them a huge round of applause and a standing ovation. Shortly after that, the final buzzer sounded and the Blades had won 4-2. They now are tied with the Stingrays for 6th and one point behind the Nailers for 5th.
The game sheet is here.
The game photos:
The three stars:
- I don't think I can rave enough about that last penalty kill. It was a thing of beauty.
- Allow me to play armchair coach for a minute: Why not, when you have an extended 5 on 3 and you're down by only one goal would you not pull your goalie for an extra attacker. Is your power play so terrible they could defend when they have six players to the opposing teams 3?
- It's not like the Stingray players couldn't handle protecting an open net. Mathieu Roy was absolutely robbed of an empty net goal thanks to one of the Rays' hustle.
- Seriously guys, that penalty kill. Sigh.
A quick note, it looks like the usual end of the season attendance spike has finally happened (if you're just showing up to games now you suck by the way). If, like me, you haven't been smart enough to secure season tickets, you might want to pay ticket master a little extra to secure the seats you like. I show up before gates open and the good seats are becoming harder to come by.