Needing a win to keep any playoffs hopes alive, the Florida Everblades delivered and then some Saturday night at Germain Arena, defeating the South Carolina Stingrays 4-0.
After losing earlier in the week as the team the Blades are chasing for the eighth playoff spot, the Fort Wayne Komets had won twice before the Blades played Saturday. With their backs against the proverbial wall, the Blades are challenged to stretch their playoff streak to 17 straight years. That situation seems to suit them well as they turned in one of their most dominant performances of the year.
"We definitely played a really good solid game for 60 minutes. Everybody played well, and if we play like that we can beat anybody in the league," said Blades coach Greg Poss.
Florida jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period. The score came midway through the opening frame when Evan Bloodoff scored his 25th of the year. Not quite seven minutes later, Phillippe Michael Devos sent a perfect cross ice pass to Jeff Walker for a goal and the Everblades never looked back.
"That was uncommon," said Poss, "It's usually us who are chasing, but that was good (to have a lead)."
Florida added to their lead in the second period with two more goals, highlighted by Mathieu Roy's 26th tally of the year, taking a pass from Devos in stride to put the Blades up 4-0 halfway through the frame.
The Blades closed out the game with a staunch defensive effort against the Stingrays in the third period, eliminating any solid looks on Florida goaltender Trevor Cann, whose shutout performance came while only facing 23 shots.
Should the Everblades (34-34) beat the Stingrays Sunday afternoon, they would move into a tie for the last playoff spot in the Eastern conference.