It wasn't enough Friday night for the Florida Everblades, who lost to the Gwinnett Gladiators 3-2 at Germain Arena. The bulk of the scoring came with in the first 20 minutes of play.
With both teams still feeling each other out, the Gladiators drew first blood 10 minutes into the game, beating Florida netminder Mac Carruth, who was newly acquired this week from the Toledo Walleye.
Mike Merrifield tipped in Michael Devos' shot from between the face off circles that tied the game, only to see Florida lose the lead less than a minute later when they lost the ensuing faceoff. Two passes later, Gwinnett retook the lead.
After a scoreless second period in which Florida missed tying the game on two power-play opportunities, the Gladiators reclaimed a two-goal lead with less than 7:30 to play on a power play. The Everblades wouldn't quit, however, and did to Gwinnett what they had done to the Blades in the first period. They won the following face off and scored. This time it was Danick Gauthier who put the shot home off a pass from captain Mathieu Roy.
Florida had a chance to force overtime with a power play opportunity in the final four minutes of play and pulled Carruth in the final minute, but with no success.
"It's not enough," said Blades coach Greg Poss, visibly upset. "If that's all we can give, then we are not good enough. It's not enough. The mistakes we make are 100 percent scoring chances against. Through the first two periods, the scoring chances were 8-6 us, and if that's all we can muster against a team that's not in the playoffs, and we are supposed to be fight for our (playoff) lives, then that doesn't look like we are fighting for our lives.
"Every game (now) is a must-win. The point is, we have to put everything we have into it. We can't have any regrets. Tonight, we probably have 18 players who have regrets, and that's a shame," Poss added.
The loss drops the Blades to 28-28 overall heading into Saturday night's rematch with the Gladiators at Germain Arena.