2006-07 Press Release

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This press release is copyright 2007 by the Florida Everblades and is used for informational purposes only.

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Everblades topple Gladiators 5-2 to win fourth straight

By Kevin Reiter
Florida Everblades

ESTERO, FL – The Florida Everblades (33-15-2) increased their winning streak to four, and moved to within a point of first place in the South Division, with a 5-2 victory over the Gwinnett Gladiators (29-17-6) on Wednesday night. Thanks to three third period goals and 30 saves by goaltender Craig Kowalski the Everblades sent Gwinnett to their third straight loss and moved four points against of the Gladiators in the standings.

The Everblades began strong scoring twice in the first period of play. David Brine opened the scoring with his eighth goal of the season after Adam Taylor’s centering feed from behind the Gwinnett net banked off him and in at 5:02 of the opening period. The Everblades increased the lead to 2-0 on a power play goal by Dustin Johner at 14:30. Johner’s initial shot was stopped in spectacular diving fashion by Gwinnett goalie Dave Caruso, but Johner followed the shot and jammed the puck across the line at the left post. Ernie Hartlieb and Frank MacDonald added the assists on Johner’s 19th goal of the season.

In the second period, it was the Gladiators that tallied a pair of goals. Just over seven minutes into the frame, Gwinnett notched two goals in a 22 second span. The league’s leading scorer, Brad Schell, got the Gladiators on the board with a power play goal as his shot from the right circle snuck under the cross bar at 7:13. Gwinnett tied the game at two at 7:35 when Andy Contois batted the puck out of the air and into the net after Kowalski saw Jamie Milam’s shot from the left circle deflect off his left arm.

With the scored tied at two heading into the third period, it was Florida's short-handed unit that once again struck to snap the dead lock. Johner and Jon Lehun teamed up to send the crowd of 5,833 into delirium at 6:28 of the final period. Johner began the short-handed break into the zone on the right side, then slid the puck to Lehun who fired his 17th goal of the season into the open net from the left circle.

The Everblades added some insurance at 14:50 when Adam Taylor converted on a breakaway firing the puck up over the glove of Caruso and into the upper right corner of the net for a 4-2 lead. Steve Czech and Ryan Van Buskirk picked up the assists. Florida salted the game away on Lehun’s second of the contest into the empty Gwinnett net with 13 seconds remaining.

In goal, Kowalski won his fourth straight to improve his record to 20-8-1 , while Caruso saw his record fall to 15-8-3 after allowing four goals on 32 shots.

On the power play, the Everblades closed out the night 1-for-7, while the Gladiators finished the game 1-for-5.

The Florida Everblades, proud affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers, return to the ice on Friday, February 23 when they host the Augusta Lynx at 7:30 p.m. from Germain Arena. Florida Everblades full season tickets & mini-plans are now available! Reserve your seat for all the exciting action today by calling (239) 948-7825. Visit www.floridaeverblades.com and www.germainarena.com for more information on group ticket packages, pricing and upcoming Germain Arena events.

3 Stars

1) – Dustin Johner - FLA
2) – Craig Kowalski – FLA
3) – Adam Taylor – FLA

Web posted on 02/21/07

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