ESTERO, FL – Mike Szmatula scored twice to help guide the Jacksonville Icemen to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Everblades Fridat night at Hertz Arena. With the win, the Icemen now improve to 8-2-0 in their last ten games and moved up a spot in the Eastern Conference Standings.
Jacksonville struck first on the power play when Abbott Girduckis delivered a pass across the low slot to Mike Szmatula. Szmatula collected the puck and instantly wristed it into the net for the power play marker.
Szmatula would strike again in the second period to extend the Jacksonville lead. Erik Bradford delivered a cross-crease pass to Szmatula who buried the puck in on the backside of Florida goaltender Hildebrand.
Florida countered later in the period when an Alex Kile shot deflected off the stick of an Icemen defender in front and directed into the net past Icemen netminder Charles Williams.
However, Jacksonville tacked on it’s third tally just before the close of the middle frame. Rookie blueliner Jacob Friend flexed a shot from the half wall that managed to clip past a stunned Hildebrand for the tally. Friend’s first professional goal give the Icemen a 3-1 lead at the second break.
In the third, Jacksonville clamped down defensively, while Williams turned aside all seven shots faced in the period. Ara Nazarian tacked on an empty-net goal in the waning minutes of regulation to secure the 4-1 victory for Jacksonville. Abbott Girduckis finished the game with three assists.
The two teams meet again on Saturday in Estero. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.