After five games of inconsistent starts for the Florida Everblades, leading to large first period leads for opponents, the Blades controlled their Saturday night meeting against the Gwinnett Gladiators from the opening drop of the puck to the closing bell, resulting in a much needed 3-0 shutout win.
Florida's first goal came midway through the first period after Jordan Henry tallied his sixth goal of the season 11 minutes into the contest, but despite allowing 14 shots on goalie Trevor Cann, the Everblades defense held to preserve the lead heading into intermission.
"I felt we had a few chances on our penalty kill in the first period and then Trevor Cann played outstanding," said Everblades coach Greg Poss. "I felt that gave us confidence and I thought we played outstanding defense in the second and third."
Brandon MacLean took a pretty pass from Trevor Bruess in the opening minute of the second period, and the Everblades held a 2-0 lead that the defense preserved by holding the Gladiators to only four more shots on Cann (21 saves) for the next 38 minutes of hockey.
"Trevor Cann got us through that first 20 minutes, until we settled down," said Poss.
Florida's final goal came in the final two minutes of the contest, when Brandon MacLean found Trevor Bruess all alone in the front of the Gwinnett net with a perfect centering pass for an easy goal.
The regulation win snaps a three-game stretch during which the Blades allowed opponents to leave with at least a point.
"That's the way we have to win," said Poss. "We need to be a lot more committed defensively like we were tonight. If we are playing good defense then we can win every night."
The Blades are on the road next week for three divisional games, before returning to Germain Arena on Feb. 19 for a trtee-game set against Fort Wayne.