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KISS concert give Blades an extra day to prepare

Naples Daily News

ESTERO -- The Florida Everblades had an extra day to think about what went wrong in their stunning 3-1 loss to Augusta in Saturday night's opening game of the Southern Conference quarterfinals at TECO Arena.

Thanks to the hard rocking boys from the band KISS, who played to a sellout crowd on Sunday night on top of the ice in the main arena, Game Two between the Everblades and the Lynx was pushed back to Monday night (April 10: 7:30, WQAM 770-AM/WRXK 96.1-FM).

Florida may have entered the best-of-five playoff series as the most feared team in the East Coast Hockey League after wrapping up the best season in league history last week, but Augusta remained one of the hottest. Goaltender Judd Lambert has heated up the most, leading his team to two straight do-or-die wins against the New Orleans Brass in the wild-card round before turning in a gem on Saturday night.

The Everblades pressured the tired netminder from the opening faceoff to the final buzzer, peppering him with 49 shots, including 18 in the pivotal second period. But Lambert answered the challenge by turning away 48 shots, allowing only Hugh Hamilton's rebound goal off a shot by left wing Andy MacIntyre to trickle in early in the third period.

"We're going to have to find a way to screen their goaltender more and not allow him to have clean looks," Florida head coach Bob Ferguson said following the loss. "We're not going to change our game because we were successful with controlling the tempo, we just couldn't get the puck to go in.' Everblades goaltender Jeff Maund, who turned 24 on Saturday, stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced, and actually came up with a few more clutch saves from point-blank range than Lambert. Augusta's third goal was an empty-netter with just over a minute left in the game as Florida went with the sixth attacker in an effort to tie the game.

The Everblades need a victory tonight to force a fourth game in Augusta. Their longest losing streak of the regular season was two, but they never lost two straight at home. In order to regain home-ice advantage, Florida also needs to win one of the two games in Augusta to force a Game Five back in Estero. Ferguson is hoping to have All-Star goaltender Marc Magliarditi back in uniform for tonight's game. Magliarditi has been on recall with the IHL's Cincinnati Cyclones since March 25. He returned for the season finale, a 4-1 win against Baton Rouge last Sunday, and then went back to Cincinnati. Ferguson acquired the services of Michigan State goalie Mike Gresl on Friday as an emergency backup to Maund until Magliarditi's return.

Game Three will be played at the Richmond County Civic Center in Augusta on Sunday at 7:15 p.m., with Game Four (if necessary) set for next Monday.

Playoff tickets are still available for tonight's game and can be purchased at the arena box office, all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling Ticketmaster at 239-334-3309. Fans are encouraged to wear white again in order to create a whiteout effect in the arena.

Web posted on 04/10/00

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