JACKSONVILLE, FL – Maxime Fortier scored twice in a 14-second span in the third period to guide the Jacksonville Icemen to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Everblades in Game 3 of the South Division Semifinals in front of an announced crowd of 6,687 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena Thursday night. The Everblades now lead the series 2-1.
Despite an energetic start by the Icemen to open the game, the Everblades found a way to grab a 1-0 lead in the final minute of the first period. John McCarron delivered a soft shot that was blocked by a defenseman in front. However, the puck rolled across the crease and Justin Auger fought his way to the puck and backhanded it into the net for the goal.
The Icemen evened the scored at 4:11 of the second period. Newcomer Roman Uchyn fed a pass to the slot to a wide-open Garrett Ladd. Ladd snapped a shot that beat the blocker of goaltender Jeremy Helvig to tie the game at 1-1. With an assist on the play, Uchyn recorded his first professional point.
Nearly ten minutes later, the Icemen grabbed the lead. Cam Maclise rushed into the zone on the left wing and dropped a pass back to Jacob Cederholm. Cederholm skated a few strides to the high slot and blistered a shot that screamed into the Florida net which ignited the home crowd. The goal would hold, and the Icemen took a 2-1 lead into the second break.
Florida countered the Icemen goal just 90 seconds into the third when Alex Tonge put in a rebound off a Nathan Perkovich shot to tie the game at two.
Jacksonville reclaimed the lead at 12:19 when Maxime Fortier skated to right wing circle, made a toe-drag move and then sniped the puck high into the right corner of the net for the go-ahead marker.
Just 14 seconds later, Fortier struck again. This time he carried the puck down the left wing and maneuvered the puck around a defenseman to break all alone to the top of the crease. Fortier then slid the puck between Helvig’s skate and post to propel the Icemen to a 4-2 lead.
The Everblades refused to go down without a fight and received a tally from John McCarron to pull within one when he picked up a loose puck down low and squeezed a shot that beat netminder Mikhail Berdin shirtside.
Trailing by a goal, Florida pulled the goaltender to allow for the extra attacker. Despite some tense moments in the closing seconds, the Icemen hung on for the 4-3 victory.
The two teams will play Game 4 on Friday and will now host Game 5 on Saturday. Game time for both games is set for 7:00 p.m.
Broadcast Information: Fans can catch all Icemen playoff game broadcasts on Mixlr, and on ECHL.TV. #1 Florida Everblades vs, #4 Jacksonville Icemen (Florida leads the best-of-seven series 2-1)
Game 1: Thursday, April 11, Jacksonville – 2 at Florida – 3 (Overtime)Game 2: Saturday, April 13, Jacksonville – 1 at Florida – 4
Game 3: Thursday, April 18, Florida – 3 at Jacksonville – 4
Game 4: Friday, April 19, Florida at Jacksonville, 7:00 p.m. (Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena)
Game 5: Saturday, April 20, Florida at Jacksonville, 7:00 p.m. (Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena)
Game 6: Monday, April 22, Jacksonville at Florida, 7:30 p.m. (Hertz Arena) **Game 7: Wednesday, April 24, Jacksonville at Florida, 7:30 p.m. (Hertz Arena) **
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The 2018-19 Jacksonville Icemen Season is Presented by Community First Credit Union