The Florida Everblades had to rally to sent their ECHL Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series all the way to a Game 7, despite enjoying a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and two more games on home ice last weekend.
The Reading Royals spoiled that home ice advantage, just as the Blades did earlier at Reading, by winning two of the last three games at Germain Arena, both in overtime.
The defending ECHL Kelly Cup Champion Everblades, however, could not muster enough offense to advance to the conference finals. The Royals pinned a 4-1 defeat on the Blades Wednesday night to claim a 4-3 series victory and advance to the next round against the Cincinnati Cyclones.
Wednesday: Trailing 2-0, Matthew Pistilli sent a pass from left-to-right through the crease to Corey Trivino standing alone near the right post. Royals goalie Riley Gill dove across, got his glove on the puck, sending it off the post and safely behind the net.
The save came on a 5-on-3 third period power play for the Blades, but the Royals survived and added two more goals for good measure.
Brandon MacLean broke the shutout with the Blades' lone goal with 1:58 left.
"The guys left everything out there," said Blades coach Greg Poss said. "All we can ask is you do your best. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. Last year, we had a great playoff run where we got all the bounces. This year, we couldn't get a bounce. We lost the two playoff games at home in overtime."
Tuesday: Adam Brace and Leigh Salters scored goals 90 seconds apart past the halfway point of the third period to rally the Everblades to a 2-1 win in Game 6 and force Game 7.
Saturday: Evan Barlow scored twice, including the game-winning goal in overtime, to lead the Royals to a 5-4 win in Game 5.
The Royals took a 3-2 series lead back to Reading.
The Royals opened a 2-0 lead early on.
Salters led a 2-on-1 rush to the right wing circle to Brace who one-timed the puck past Gill to pull the Blades within 2-1 in the second period.
Florida tied the game with three minutes remaining in the second, on a rebound chance in front for Trivino, who rolled a shot into the net from the top of the crease.
The Everblades took their first lead in the third period on a shot from the point hit off the back glass and landed in the crease for Trivino's second goal.
The Blades took a 4-2 lead when Brace muscled his way around a defenseman and lifted a shot over the goalie's glove for the score.
The Royals would not go quietly, scoring on two power plays in the final five minutes of regulation to force overtime.
Halfway though the extra session, a loose puck in front of the Everblades net causing a wild scramble when Barlow tapped it into the net for the game-winning goal.