The Florida Everblades returned to Germain Arena Wednesday night to finish their season with a nine-game homestand. They did so with their backs against the wall - on the outside looking in if the playoffs were to start now.
After coming from behind to defeat the Evansville Icemen 6-5 in overtime Wednesday night, the Blades briefly got back into the playoff picture, but will only extend their playoff streak to 16 consecutive years if they can keep up their winning ways as the season closes on home ice a little over two weeks from now.
"Every year we want to make the playoffs," said Blades coach Greg Poss. "We put ourselves in a bad spot with our play over the last two months, but we have a really good team and when we get in we can beat any team in this league. But we gotta get in (the playoffs)."
Contributions from six different goal scorers, including two power-play goals, lead the way for the Blades (32-32).
The Blades went into the second period trailing 2-1 and looking desperate to take back control of a game that nearly got away from them in the first. Before the Blades could channel that desperation, the Icemen beat starting goalie Andy Iles less than two minutes into the second frame, taking a 2-0 lead.
Florida won the ensuing faceoff and 30 seconds later Brandon MacLean brought the Everblades back within a goal, sliding the puck into the net.
Less than seven minutes later, Kyle Bonis' 24th goal of the year tied the game heading into the final period.
Florida yook command in the third with two goals in the first 10 minutes, only to relinquish lead to Evansville, who forced overtime with a pair of goals of their own, the last coming with less than two minutes to go in regulation.
Phillip Michael Devos scored the game-winner in overtime for the Blades, who face the Cincinnati Cyclones Friday and Saturday at Germain Arena.