WHEELING, W.Va. - Justin Shugg netted a hat trick to lift the Everblades to a 5-4 shootout victory over the Wheeling Nailers in the overtime shootout Saturday night. Florida rallied from a three-goal deficit in the final nine minutes of regulation to earn the win.
Wheeling struck first at 3:02 as Peter Lenes put in a rebound past Everblades goaltender John Muse to give the Nailers a 1-0 lead.
Florida tied its six minutes later as Shugg finished off a nice move around the defenseman and ripped a shot past Wheeling netminder Patrick Killeen.
Wheeling took a two-goal lead into the second intermission on goals by Chris Higgins and Andrew Hotham.
Peter Lenes registered his second goal of the game on the power play at 6:09 of the third period to extend the Nailers lead to 4-1.
Wheeling killed off extended 5-on-3 power play by Florida to preserve the three-goal advantage.
The 'Blades began their rally with nearly nine minutes remaining. Bobby Raymond fired a wrist shot from the slot that ripped past Killeen top shelf to the put the score at 4-2.
Seconds later, Shugg received the puck in at the circle and wristed a shot high past Killeen's glove to pull Florida within one 4-3.
Shugg struck again for a third time, when Mathieu Roy shuffled a pass over the stick of a Wheeling defender to Shugg. Shugg curled the puck on his backhand and lifted a shot high into the net to complete the rally, and tie the game at 4-4 with 28 seconds remaining.
Neither team could seal the game in overtime, sending the game to the overtime shootout for the second consecutive night. Shugg, David Rutherford, and Matt Marquardt all scored in the shootout for Florida to seal the 5-4 victory.
Muse earns the win stopping 28 of 32 shots faced, while Killeen takes the loss allowing four goals on 25 shots seen in the game.
Shugg records his first career hat trick, and scored five goals in the two games played in Wheeling.
Florida is off before facing Cincinnati at U.S. Bank Arena Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Florida's next home game is Dec. 19 against the Orlando Solar Bears.