Written by Jake Wheeler
ESTERO, FL- The Jacksonville Icemen fell to the Florida Everblades 5-3 as they go down 2-0 in the south division finals. The Icemen held their own for two periods but the Everblades first period led them to prevail.
The Icemen got off to a decent start against the Everblades as they wanted to come out and split the series in Estero. A few minutes in, the Everblades thought they had scored, however, after video review it was determined to be no goal. The physicality really picked up after the third period from game 1 and there have been multiple scrums and big hits. Florida had the first powerplay of the game, but Jacksonville penalty killers came up big and did not allow them much. Moments later, the Everblades John McCarron got the puck in the slot and buried it to give them the first lead of the game. Florida’s Matteo Gennaro would then add another tally after a quick shot from the left faceoff dot. The Everblades would head to another powerplay which resulted in Stefan LeBlanc scoring from the point to make it a three-goal lead. Following that, after a clean faceoff win for Florida, Stephen Desrocher scored from the point to make it four goals. The Icemen will begin the second period on the powerplay. After 20 minutes of play, the Icemen trail 4-0 while being outshot 15-7.
The Icemen got off to a great start in period two as Brendan Harris got a pass in the slot and buried it to cut the deficit to three goals. There were not as many scrums after the whistles in this frame, but the physicality was still there. This period was more back and forth with each team getting some sustained offensive zone pressure. Late in the period, Jacksonville would head back to the powerplay, and they’d make them pay again as James Sanchez got the puck in the right faceoff dot and snapped it home to cut their deficit to two goals. After 40 minutes of play, the Icemen trail 4-2 while being outshot 23-15.
The Icemen got off to another solid start in period three and that resulted in an early powerplay. The Icemen were unable to capitalize, however, Luke Lynch would add another goal off of a backhand shot to bring them back within one goal. This frame was much like the second with it being back and forth with both teams getting offensive zone looks. Jacksonville would pull their goaltender late in the period, and while they had some sustained pressure with the extra attacker, they could not capitalize and the Everblades would score as Levko Koper gave them the cushion they needed. The Icemen fell in Game 2 by a score of 5-3 while being outshot 32-20.
The Icemen will now host the Everblades for Game 3 on Tuesday, May 10th at 7pm.