Everblades claim ECHL championship
Brandon MacClean scored the game-winning goal in overtime to secure a 3-2 Game 5 victory over the Las Vegas Wrangers Wednesday night at Germain Arena.
The win crowns the Everblades as the 2012 ECHL Kelly Cup champions by winning four games in a row and taking the best-of-seven series 4-1.
The first period started with all the physicality one would expect from a potential clinching game and it was the Everblades who got the initial advantage. Florida scored first 12 minutes into the period as Matt Beca led a 3-on-1 charge on goal. Once in the right side circle he fed it to Justin Shugg whose one-timer beat Wranglers goalie Joe Fallon for the 1-0 lead.
The Blades increased the lead to 2-0 before going into the first break. The Blades created a 3-on-1 opportunity with Brayden Irwin coming out of the box. Trevor Bruess put a shot on goal that rebounded to Mike Ratchuk streaking down the ice into the slot. Ratchuk’s shot beat the already outstretched Fallon for the goal.
Las Vegas pulled within a goal after 10 minutes of the second period. Jeff May skated along the right side boards and sent a pass to Ash Goldie whose wrist shot got past Blades netminder John Muse.
The Wranglers tied the game early in the third period to force overtime.
In overtime the Blades found a rhythm once again and controlled the puck. Beca led a 2-1 charge five minutes in and passed it off to MacClean whose one-timer while streaking toward the net beat Fallon to nail down the franchise’s first Kelly Cup championship in their third appearance.
Muse, the Finals MVP, stopped 41 of 43 shots while Joe Fallon allowed three goals on 29 attempts.