Florida Everblades newcomer and NHL veteran Ryan O'Byrne tallied a goal and assist to help the Everblades secure a 4-3 victory Saturday night over the Greenville Warriors in front of a crowd of 6,579 at Germain Arena.
O'Byrne grabbed the puck in the slot and fired the puck from the right side of the circle early in the first period. The puck glided underneath the pad of Warriors goaltender Nathan Lieuwen. It is the first for O'Byrne in the ECHL, whose goal initiated a shower of teddy bears in honor the annual Teddy Bear Toss night.
It didn't take the Warriors long to catch up, as Sean Berkstresser accepted a perfect pass in stride in the offensive zone, took it to the net and beat Blades goaltender Pat Nagle to tie the game at 1-1.
The Warriors added their second goal 2:09 into the second period as Francis Verreault picked up a pass at the top of the crease, and the puck between the pads of Nagle to score.
Moments later the Blades answered on their end, on a tic-tac-toe pass play finished off by David Rutherford, who sailed a wrist on the backside of Lieuwen for the goal to tie the game at 2-2.
Florida took the lead on the powerplay when Mathieu Roy swung the puck through the crease to Matt Beca, who wristed the puck from point blank range on the backside to score to end the second period with 3-2 mark.
Eager for another goal, the Blades began the third period strong as Justin Shugg, in the slot, shoved in a rebound shot from the right side of the boards and shot it past an outstretched Lieuwen.
With 1:35 remaining in regulation the Warriors made a comeback bid when Marc-Olivier Vallerand scored on a wrist shot from the left side circle which screamed past Nagle to pull with one 4-3.
The Warriors for the final 90 seconds of the game threw everything they had at the Everblades, but failed at scoring the tying goal allowing the Everblades to escape with a 4-3 victory.
Nagle earns the win stopping 28 of 31 goals.
Florida's next home game is Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 against Orlando.