Written by Jake Wheeler
ESTERO, FL- The Jacksonville Icemen fell to the Florida Everblades 2-0 in game 1 of the South Division Finals.
The Icemen got off to a decent start in the first period as they had some early offensive zone pressure. The Everblades put a lot of pressure on the Icemen as they have more playoff experience and the momentum from home ice. Jacksonville had an early penalty kill as Luke Lynch went off for two minutes, but they were able to play great defense and kill off the penalty. The remainder of the frame featured fast paced play with Florida controlling a lot of the play, however, Jacksonville was able to get a few good looks in the offensive zone. After 20 minutes of play, the game remains scoreless with the Icemen being outshot 15-6.
The Icemen got off to a better start in period two as they started to find their legs and get more offensive zone pressure. However, the Everblades would strike a few minutes in as Alex Aleardi came streaking into the Icemen zone and wristed a shot from the right faceoff dot. Moments later, Jacksonville would head to the powerplay and while they had a few chances they were unable to find the back of the net. Florida would head to the powerplay later in the period as Victor Hadfield was sent to the box, but Jacksonville was able to kill off the penalty. The Icemen would go on the powerplay with a minute left in the frame and they’ll begin period three on the powerplay. After 40 minutes of play, the Icemen trail 1-0 while being outshot 24-14.
The Icemen started off the third period on the powerplay and while they had a few offensive zone looks they were unable to capitalize. About halfway through the period Craig Martin was on the receiving end of a cheap shot from Zach Solow which resulted in 4-on-4 hockey as Sean Giles and Zach Solow went off for roughing. The Icemen put the Everblades on their heels in the third period as they controlled most of the play as they needed to get one goal in order to capitalize. Jacksonville’s Jacob Friend went to the box late and they would pull their goaltender in order to get the extra attacker on the ice. Florida’s Joe Pendenza scored on the empty net to seal the win for the Everblades. The Icemen lost 2-0 while being outshot 30-22.
The Icemen play game 2 on Saturday, May 7th at 7pm in Estero, FL.