The Jacksonville Icemen's four-game unbeaten streak ended as they lost, 6-2, on Wednesday to the Eastern Conference-leading Florida Everblades in Estero.
In a competitive first period, it was Florida who was first to find the back of the net. Just over halfway into the frame, John McCarron fired a shot from below the right circle on a 5-on-3 power play to beat Austin Lotz. Jacksonville would outshoot the 'Blades, 11-9, but trail following the first 20 minutes.
Early in the second period, Garet Hunt scored from the left circle to briefly tie the game. The goal would tie Hunt's season-single goal record of 14 from 2013-14 with the Stockton Thunder. The rest of the period would be all Florida as the 'Blades tallied four goals in the second frame. The onslaught started with Quentin Shore, who scored off a rebound from the right circle to give the 'Blades their second lead of the game. Next, it was Michael Kirkpatrick who scored after playing pitch and catch on a 2-on-1 breakaway with teammate Mitchell Heard. Following that tally was Brett Bulmer's goal, as Justin Kea slid him the puck through the crease for the tap-in goal. Zack Kamrass fired a shot above the left circle, through a screen, and past Austin Lotz for the 5-1 Florida lead. Colton Phinney would come into the game to replace Lotz after the fifth goal. Shortly before the period ended, Tanner Eberle dished a nifty backhand pass across the ice to Elgin Pearce, who one-timed it past Martin Ouellette to make it 5-2.
There would be no thrilling third-period comeback tonight for Jacksonville, as Florida continued to attack offensively. Justin Kea took the puck at center ice and skated past an Icemen defender before putting it past Phinney for the 6-2 advantage. The 'Blades blanked the Icemen in the third period and snapped a two-game winless streak.
Despite the loss, Jacksonville is still only eight points out of a playoff berth. The Icemen return home Friday, March 2nd to take on the Reading Royals at 7:30 p.m. Click here to get your tickets!
(Photo Credit: Kevin Bires)