Written by Jake Wheeler
ESTERO, FL- The Nick Luukko era got off to a great start as the Jacksonville Icemen defeated the Florida Everblades 5-1 to open the season at Hertz Arena Saturday night. Jake Elmer’s two goals and Francois Brassard’s 18 saves helped secure the win for the Icemen.
The Icemen got off to a fast start under new head coach Nick Luukko as the team sustained a lot of offensive zone pressure right from the start. Icemen forward Jake Elmer scored the first goal of the Icemen season off of a snapshot from the left face-off dot to give Jacksonville a 1-0 lead.
In the second period, the Everblades were able to tie the game when they converted a power play opportunity when Robert Carpenter scored off of a cross crease pass to tie the game.
Just 44 seconds later, Jake Elmer scored his second goal of the game from the slot off of a great pass from forward James Sanchez to give Jacksonville a 2-1 lead in the game and at the second intermission.
Jacksonville opened the third period with a furious pace which helped set the tone for the remainder of the period. Icemen forward Joey Sides had a great individual effort to score a shorthanded goal to make it a three-goal Icemen edge. Side read a Florida pass and stole the puck away to create his own scoring chance. After a few dekes, sides finished it off with a wrister that beat Florida netminder Cam Johnson.
The penalty parade continued as Blake Winiecki went off for Florida which then turned into a 5-on-3 for the Icemen. Ara Nazarian capitalized on the powerplay which increased Jacksonville’s lead to three.
Jake Elmer took his second penalty of the game, however, the Everblades pulled their goaltender to make it a 6-on-4 advantage and Zach Berzolla scored an empty netter to make it a 5-1 Icemen edge. The Icemen would go on to win by that count and led in shots on goal 31-19. The Icemen are back in action on Friday, October 29th when they travel to take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbit. Fans can catch the game on www.mixlr.com/jaxicemen or at FloHockey.TV