Fans attending last Saturday's Florida Everblades game at Germain Arena got to launch their stuffed animals onto the ice early when Kyle Bonis stuffed the puck into the net less than seven minutes into the match.
The Blades went on to notch a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Eagles and secured a two-game weekend series split. They also celebrated the franchise's popular annual Teddy Bear Toss promotion. The crowd showered the rink with 6,153 teddy bears and other stuffed animals that are donated to children in need all over Southwest Florida.
The Blades (15-8) started a four-game, five-day road trip to the Northeast Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory over the Elmira Jackals. They face Atlantic Division foes at Reading, Pa., and Wheeling, Pa., through Sunday before they return to Germain Arena on Dec. 20-21 for a pair of games against Greenville.
Trevor Bruess unleashed a rising slap shot that sailed over the blocker of Elmira netminder Maxime Clermont in the first period Wednesday.
The Jackals knotted the game at 1-1 on a power play rush as forward Jakub Culek deked the defense and blasted a shot over the glove of Blades goalie Trevor Cann (22 saves).
Kyle Bonis appeared to give the Blades the lead with 44 seconds remaining in the opening frame, collecting a back door pass from Rocco Carzo and chipping it over Clermont, but the referees conferred and ruled the net was off its posts before the scoring chance, keeping the game tied through 20 minutes.
Everblades rookie Will MacDonald scored his first goal of the year, the game-winner, as he whipped home Mathieu Roy's rebound on a scramble in front of the net with 13:24 to go in the second frame.