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Glads Fall to Blades 5-4

Saturday, March 19th
Glads Fall to Blades 5-4

Hosting Florida on Sunday for the final tilt in a three game weekend, the Everblades opened the game's scoring early in the first period as forward Kevin Lynch found himself on a breakaway through the Atlanta zone, where he took the puck and sent a backhand shot across the face of the ice and under the left pad of Gladiators goaltender Kent Patterson. The tally was Lynch's 16th of the season and it put his team ahead 1-0 7:52 into the game. Rob Florentino and Kevin Montgomery were both credited with an assist on the play.Atlanta was quick to respond, with Thomas Frazee netting his 13th goal of the year to tie the game at 1-1 just 9:02 into the opening frame. The North Vancouver native was sitting in front of the net when a rebound landed on his blade, and he made no mistake putting it into the open net. Brock Higgs picked up his 21st helper of the season after taking the original shot, while the captain, Derek Nesbitt, notched his 27th with the secondary helper.However, Atlanta could not hold the tie for long, as the visiting Everblades regained their lead at the 11:38 mark of the period. Lynch found the back of the net once again, as he tipped in a shot from Corey Syvret to make it 2-1 for Florida. The University of Michigan product continued his hot streak against the Gladiators with his seventh goal against them in seven games. Syvret notched his 17th assist of the year after taking the shot, and Brendan O'Donnell picked up his 13th helper after winning the face-off.Florida would then double their lead to 3-1 just two minutes later on a rebound from Florentino. The Everblades defender was wide open at the back door when Ralph Cuddemi took a shot from the near side that landed at his feet, allowing him to tap the puck into an open net. The tally was Florentino's fifth of the year while Cuddemi notched his first point as a pro with the assist.The Gladiators then cut the deficit to one on a tic-tac-toe passing play in the Florida zone just 3 minutes into the middle stanza. Shawn Bates was the beneficiary of a pass from Chris Auger, that he then blasted past Rasmus Tirronen. The one-timer was the rookie's third goal of the year while Auger finally put his name on the score sheet as a Gladiator with an assist on the play. Nesbitt was also credited with his second point of the night with the secondary assist. Atlanta would take the momentum gained in the second to start out quickly in the final period. On the first rush of the period, the Gladiators captain brought the puck down the near side before centering a pass to Auger who tapped it in for his first goal with Atlanta. The tying goal came just 27 seconds into the third, and marked Auger's second point of the night, as well as Nesbitt's third. Despite the continuous pressure put on by the Gladiators, Florida found themselves ahead on the scoreboard once again, as Carter Sandlak put his team ahead 4-3 with 14:22 left in the third period. The former Charlotte Checker created a turnover behind the Atlanta net, where he then tried to center the puck to his teammates in front of the net. The puck took a bounce off of the back of Patterson, however, and instead ended up in the back of the net for Sandlak's fourth of the year.Less than three minutes after that, Florida regained their two-goal lead. This time, Matt Willows took a quick wrist shot on the power play that found its way past the blocker of Patterson. The power play tally marks the rookie's 21st of the year, the most among all rookies. On the play, both O'Donnell and Lynch added to their point total for the day with the primary and secondary assists. With only 5.1 seconds remaining in the game, Ian Barteaux brought the deficit back to one for the home team. The second-year pro took a hard slap shot from the point that blasted its way through traffic in front of the net, and past the glove of Tirronen. The unassisted tally was Barteaux's fifth of the year. Despite their efforts for a late comeback, Atlanta falls to 30-27-5-2 giving them 67 points, and keeping them in ninth in the Eastern Conference, Florida improves to 40-21-0-2 with the win on the road, placing them in third place in the Eastern Conference with 82 points.

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