Everblades blank K-Wings in opener of conference finals

Florida Everblades Coach Greg Poss

Coach talks about his team's 2-0 game. ...

Matt Marquardt cross-checks Nick Sirota

K-Wings tie up game.

EVERBLADES 2, WINGS 0

Florida 1 1 0—2

Kalamazoo 0 0 0—0

First period — 1. Florida, Raymond 2 (Rutherford, MacLean ), 15:54. Penalties — Karlander KAL (hooking), 13:14; Piche FLA (tripping), 18:49; Marquardt FLA (cross-checking), 19:39.

Second period — 2. Florida, Bruess 4 (Roy, Raymond), 13:55. Penalties — Matczak KAL (tripping), 14:37; O’Neill KAL (delay of game), 15:57.

Third period — No Scoring. Penalties — Charlebois KAL (hooking), 2:33; Bootland KAL (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:16; Shugg FLA (slashing ), 9:11; Fischer FLA (high-sticking), 19:48.

Shots on goal — Florida 10-15-13—38. Kalamazoo 8-9-17—34.

Power-play opportunities — Florida 0/5; Kalamazoo 0/4.

Goalies — Florida: Nagle 4-0-0-0 (34 shots-34 saves). Kalamazoo: Gill 7-3-0-0 (38 shots-36 saves).

A — 2,054. Officials — Chmielewski, Scarpace, Marcis.

ECHL Eastern Conference Finals schedule

Best of seven

Friday

Game 1: Florida 2, Kalamazoo 0; Florida leads series 1-0

Saturday

Game 2: Florida at Kalamazoo, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday

Game 3: Kalamazoo at Florida, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday

Game 4: Kalamazoo at Florida, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 5

*Game 5: Kalamazoo at Florida, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 8

*Game 6: Florida at Kalamazoo, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, May 9

*Game 7: Florida at Kalamazoo, 7 p.m.

* If necessary

— Back in his home state, playing against one his college rivals and with his own cheering section, Everblades goalie Pat Nagle felt right at home in Wings Stadium on Friday night.

The Ferris State alum turned in a gem, turning away all 34 shots he faced to record his second playoff shutout in three games as Florida beat Kalamazoo 2-0.

The victory gives Florida a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals, while also shifting the home-ice advantage from the K-Wings to the Everblades.

“I thought our defense did a great job of clearing pucks and blocking shots,” Nagle said. “Obviously it’s fun to be back in Michigan when you’re winning but we’ve got an important game tomorrow night.”

The Everblades got on the board first, thanks to traffic in front of Kalamazoo goalie Riley Gill. Defenseman Bobby Raymond scored his second goal of the postseason at the 15:54 mark of the first period. David Rutherford and Brandon MacLean assisted on the play.

In the early going, Florida dominated the puck, not allowing the K-Wings to get their first shot until the 6:10 mark of the first period. For the period, Florida outshot Kalamazoo 13-10.

The K-Wings squandered an early chance to tie the game when a pair of Florida penalties led to a 5-on-3 advantage. With Kalamazoo already on a power play, Matt Marquardt cross-checked the K-Wings’ Nick Sirota just 40 seconds into the penalty kill.

That lead to 1:20 of 5-on-3 for Kalamazoo sandwiched around the first intermission, but the Florida defense held strong, keeping the K-Wings off the board.

Because of the break for intermission, Florida’s best penalty killers, Mathieu Roy and Trevor Bruess skated for the entire five-on-three.

“Those guys are unbelievable,” Nagle said. “They’re willing to get in front of anything for the team, do anything, they block shots and get in lanes and just make it so much easier for me.”

Florida added to its lead thanks to a nifty goal by forward Trevor Bruess at the 13:55 mark of the second. Mathieu Roy set up Bruess with a pass in the left circle and the man nicknamed “Bruiser” did the rest. Bruess faked left then went right, leaving Gill with no chance to make the save.

Roy credited his team’s 5-on-3 penalty kill for shifting the game’s momentum and added that Bruess’ goal really took the home crowd out of the game.

“When you kill a 5-on-3 it just brings everyone together,” Roy said. “Those are huge and even though it was early in the game it definitely helped us.”

Later in the period Florida had 1:20 of its own 5-on-3 advantage, but also failed to capitalize. For the game, the Everblades were 0-for-5 on the power play.

“I thought we had some good shots and some good looks but the puck just wasn’t going in,” Florida coach Greg Poss said. “But that’s OK, we didn’t need the goals tonight but we’ll probably need them tomorrow night.”

Kalamazoo put 17 shots on Nagle in the third period, but couldn’t get anything past the Michigan native. K-Wings coach Nick Bootland said that while Nagle played well, he expects his team to play better in Saturday’s Game 2.

“I think (Nagle) played well, don’t get me wrong, he’s a very good goaltender,” Bootland said. “But at the same time, we have to pay a price for those second-chance opportunities.”

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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