Photo Courtesy: Standout Imagery
LOVELAND, CO. – Florida forward Mitch Heard took advantage of an Eagles turnover in their own zone to net the game-winning goal with just 36 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Everblades a 4-3 victory in Game Two on Sunday. Eagles defenseman Jake Marto notched two goals in the loss, as the best-of-seven Kelly Cup Final series now stands even at 1-1.
Colorado would score the game’s first goal for the second straight game in the series when Marto bounced a puck from the bottom of the left circle on the power play over the pads of Florida goalie Martin Ouellette and into the back of the net. The goal was Marto’s fifth of the playoffs and gave Colorado the 1-0 lead with 2:51 remaining in the opening 20 minutes of play.
The Everblades would strike back on the power play just 2:01 into the second period when forward Sam Warning sliced into the zone on the rush a snapped a shot from the low-slot past Eagles goaltender Joe Cannata to tie the game at 1-1.
Another opportunity on the man-advantage would lead to another goal for Florida, as defenseman Mike Mackenzie would step into a shot from the blue line and light the lamp at the 7:11 mark of the middle frame to give the Everblades the 2-1 advantage.
With Colorado enjoying a power play of its own, forward J.C. Beaudin would capitalize on a met-mouth scramble, steering the puck into the back of the net for his team-leading ninth goal of the playoffs, tying the game at 2-2 with only 4:23 remaining in the second period.
Heading into the final frame, Marto would put the Eagles back in the lead with a wrister from the right circle that would beat Ouellette and give Colorado the 3-2 edge at the 5:24 mark of the period. The lead would be short-lived, as just 55 seconds later Everblades forward Stephen MacAulay would send a shot from the left circle through traffic and into the net to knot the game at 3-3.
As time wound down in regulation, the Eagles would lose the puck along the left wing boards and Heard would skate it across the top of the crease before burying a backhander with only 36 seconds left to play. Colorado would pull Cannata in favor of the extra attacker, but they would come no closer, falling by a final score of 4-3.
The Eagles finished the night going 2-for-5 on the power play, while Florida went 2-for-6 on the man-advantage. Cannata suffered the loss, surrendering four goals on 31 shots, while Ouellette claimed the win with 22 saves on 25 shots.
The Kelly Cup Finals continue with Game Three on Wednesday, May 30th at 5:30pm MT at Germaine Arena in Estero, Florida. Tickets for all home games in the Kelly Cup Final are sale now and can be purchased at the BEC box office, online at ColoradoEagles.com or by calling (970) 686-SHOT.