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Blades drop 4th in a row

January 30, 2014
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Florida Everblades' losing streak hit a season-high four games as the Greenville Road Warriors erupted for three unanswered goals to storm past the Blades 5-4 Wednesday at Germain Arena.

Leading 3-2 after the first, Florida saw its advantage evaporate with 7:02 to go in the second as Andrew Himelson lined a low slap shot through traffic and between relief goalie Connor Knapp's legs, tying the game at three.

Marc-Olivier Vallerand gave Greenville their first lead of the night at 4-3 just 45 seconds into the third, grabbing a loose puck at the side of Knapp's cage and firing it home before his former teammate could recover.

Greenville's power play struck again less than five minutes later when blueliner Ryan Hegerty fired a low slap shot that beat Knapp in traffic, boosting Greenville's edge to 5-3 with 14:19 to go in the final frame.

Though Mike Merrifield pulled Florida within one with 48 seconds to go off a Trevor Bruess rebound, missed opportunities earlier in the period proved costly as the Blades fell 5-4.

Florida took the first lead of the game at 1-0 just 2:54 into the contest as Austin Levi rifled home a one-timer from Beau Schmitz for his first ECHL goal.

A mere 24 seconds later, however, the Road Warriors equalized when Scott Arnold looped a 40-foot shot off the left-wing boards that snuck through starting goalie Riku Helenius' five-hole to tie the game at one.

Mid-season acquisition Philip-Michael Devos pushed the Blades back ahead with 11:20 to go in the first, batting a Tyson Gimblett rebound out of mid-air over the glove of Greenville netminder Jason Missaen to make it 2-1 for the home side.

Yet another tie ensued at 2-2 with 2:36 to go in the first when Helenius mis-handled the puck at the side of his net, leading to a turnover that Jordie Johnston hammered home for Greenville.

Rookie sniper Kyle Bonis dialed up another one-goal lead for the Blades with 58 seconds left in the first, collecting a cross-ice pass from Schmitz and beating Missaen glove-side to lift Florida to a 3-2 edge after one.

Following the first intermission Helenius (no decision, 7 saves) was replaced by Knapp (loss, 15 saves).

Despite a shaky start, Missaen finished with 32 stops and the win in net for the Road Warriors.

The Blades will face the Warriors at Germain Arena once again Friday in hopes of halting their season-high skid at 7:30pm.



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