Blades take charge with 7-0 romp
Brayden Irwin’s hat-trick capped off a five-goal second period as the Florida Everblades blanked the Kalamazoo Wings 7-0 Wednesday night in Game 3 of the ECHL Eastern Conference Finals at Germain Arena.
The win gives Florida a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
It took 10 minutes in the opening period for the Blades to record the first goal. Mathieu Roy intercepted a pass just outside the Wings’ zone and skated around two defenders for a wrist shot that beat Wings goaltender Riley Gill.
The Blades offense erupted in the second, posting five goals in the first 8:38 of the period. The first of those came just 20 seconds into the period when Brayden Irwin took a pass from David Rutherford in a 2-on-1 rush. Irwin lifted the puck high past Gill.
Sebastian Piche added a power-play goal 40 seconds later, taking a pass from Cedric McNicoll in the left side circle and rifling a one-time shot for a 3-0 lead.
Irwin scored his second goal of the period on a one-timer for a 4-0 lead. The goal chased Gill to the bench, having allowed four goals on 14 shots. Maxime Clermont came on in relief of Gill.
The Blades’ relentless attack continued when McNicoll dished the puck in front to Justin Shugg, who directed the puck on goal and stopped by Clermont. Shugg gathered his own rebound and fired the puck in to grow the lead to 5-0.
Irwin completed his hat trick with a cross ice feed from Matt Marquardt in the right side circle. Irwin’s goal capped a run of five goals in just over eight minutes.
The second period surge allowed the Blades to coast through the majority of the third period. Shugg added a third power-play maker late in the period, sealing the Game 3 victory.
The shutout win is the fourth for the Blades in the postseason. They have not allowed a goal in eight of the nine periods in this series.
Goalie John Muse remained vigilant throughout the game keeping Kalamazoo’s scoring chances to a minimum while shutting out the Wings. Clermont turned aside 15 of 18 shots faced in a relief effort. Muse earns the win, and his first postseason shutout, stopping all 28 shots on goal.
A pivotal Game 4 in the series is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Germain Arena . The Blades will also host Game 5 on Saturday with as chance to end the series on home ice.
(Florida leads best-of-seven series 2-1) ?Game 1 – Florida 2, Kalamazoo 0 ?Game 2 – Florida 2, Kalamazoo- 3 ?Game 3 – Florida 7, Kalamazoo 0 ?Game 4 – Thurs., May 3 at Florida, 7:30 p.m. ?Game 5 – Saturday, May 5 at Florida, 7 p.m. ?Game 6 – in Kalamazoo, Tues. May 8, 7 p.m. (if necessary) ?Game 7 – in Kalamazoo, Wed. May 9, 7 p.m. (if necessary)