A change of jerseys and two goals by Jordan Henry weren't enough to overcome costly turnovers for the Florida Everblades Friday night as they give away one to the Gwinnett Gladiators 6-5 in overtime at Germain Arena.
"This can't happen, where we have the puck on our stick and give it away so easy," said a frustrated Everblades coach Greg Poss. "We assisted on five of their goals. If we are going to be that arrogant with the puck to turn it over in those situations "
Poss went on to break down each of the turnovers that resulted in a Gladiators score.
"We had the most assists in the league tonight," he said.
A slow and deliberate first period had the Everblades trailing 1-0, but while being interviewed at the conclusion of the frame Austin Levi complained that the Olympic commemorative jerseys they were wearing for auction were making it difficult to distinguish teammates from foes on the ice. The jerseys featured white lettering on a mostly white jersey, with the middle portion the same color as the traditional blue and green home jerseys.
To no one's surprise, the jersey change at first intermission was exactly what they need, and they scored four times in the second frame.
Florida's first goal came less than a minute in when Jordan Henry scored the first of his two goals on the night, taking Mike Merrifield's pass and putting it home on a power play.
Philip Michael Devos started a three-goal barrage for the Blades some 11 minutes later after chipping in another Merrifield assist. After winning the ensuing face off, Kyle Bonis' 16th goal of the year made it 3-1 Florida, as the home team seemingly started to pull away.
Brandon MacLean's shorthanded goal with 1:59 left looked to put away the Gladiators, who answered 30 seconds later to make it 4-2.
Florida's collapse started early and often in the third with two costly turnovers leading to a tie game with just over 15 minutes to play. Henry's second goal of the night midway through the frame provided some temporary breathing room for the Blades, who only allowed 24 shots to reach starting net minder Connor Knapp, but too many quality scoring chances by often leaving their goalie alone against two skaters. The result had Gwinnett tying the contest with 1:41 and winning in overtime.
The anger of the result carried all the way to the top of the Everblades organization with team president Craig Brush chipping in.
"These guys can play (arrogant) if they want to, but it's going to be elsewhere," warned Brush.
The Blades (24-20) and Gwinnett meet again at Germain Arena on at 7 p.m. Saturday night.