It was a tale of good and bad special teams for the Florida Everblades Friday night, with the bad edging out the good in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Fort Wayne Komets at Germain Arena.
Fort Wayne was first to draw blood in the matchup, beating starting Blades net minder Trevor Cann (9 saves) four minutes in to the first period.
Florida's special teams came through eight minutes later when Kyle Bonis scored when Brandon MacLean's shot on goal was partially blocked by a defender. The deflected puck fell to Bonis' stick and the game headed into first intermission tied at 1-1.
The second period was a trail of errors, of sorts, for the Blades, who found themselves spending much of the period down at least one man, and forced to kill off two 5-on-3 situations. The continuous mistakes cost Florida the lead and their goaltender after Fort Wayne scored a power-play goal midway through the period. Making matters worse, Cann left the game for Connor Knapp after suffering an injury on the play.
Down 2-1 heading into the final period, the Everblades hit the ice with more energy and trying to stay out of the penalty box. They failed to accomplish the later, but it didn't cost them as it did in the second period. In fact, the Blades took advantage.
While killing another penalty less than three minutes into the third period, Brandon MacLean ended up skating alone to the Komet's net. His shorthanded goal tied it up, but with enough time left for the Komets to capitalize on any more Florida errors.
The Blades needed errors to lose this one though.
With 2:38 left in regulation, the refs called a pair of penalties against Blades who suddenly found themselves facing another 5-on-3 situation. The Komets capitalized in just 21 seconds and with 1:39 left of an extra-man advantage, the Everblades seemed to have given the game away, but MacLean wouldn't allow it.
Seconds later, the Everblades won the faceoff and MacLean stuffed home his second shorthanded goal of the period to force overtime and secure a point in the standings, only to lose in a shootout.
"We played hard the whole game," said Blades coach Greg Poss. "I can't fault our effort, but puck management and turning the puck over, we were too sloppy with the puck. Again, the effort was good, but we have to be better with the puck."
Florida (27-23) and Fort Wayne (24-27) face off again Saturday night at Germain Arena.