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Blades Lose Game Seven

Friday, 05.18.2007 / 10:44 PM ET / News
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Blades Lose Game Seven

By Andy Kent for floridapanthers.com

 

It took the Florida Everblades all nine years of their existence to experience their first Game 7 in a playoff series, and now they'll have the entire offseason to think about what might have been.

The Dayton Bombers ended Florida's quest to reach the ECHL's Kelly Cup Finals for the third time in four years with a 3-1 victory Friday night in front of a vocal crowd of 6,919 at Germain Arena in Estero, riding the solid goaltending of Adam Berkhoel.

For the Bombers, it was the second straight series to be decided in seven games as they erased a 3-1 deficit in the American Conference's North Division Finals to eliminate the Cincinnati Cyclones. By winning the American Conference Finals, Dayton advances to face the Idaho Steelheads for the league championship.

Five Florida Panthers prospects were in uniform for the Everblades, who share an affiliation with the Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes, to experience the low point of an up-and-down postseason - forwards David Brine, Dustin Johner and Adam Taylor, defenseman Franklin MacDonald and goaltender David Shantz.

It was Johner who helped force the seventh game with two shorthanded goals in Thursday night's 6-3 win, but the third-year pro was held in check by a smothering Bombers defense on Friday.

The Everblades did go two rounds further than last season, when Gwinnett knocked them out in the South Division semifinals, but for an organization that has never missed the playoffs this was another bitter pill to swallow.

"The way their game is they slow it down and we knew they were going to try to do that," Johner said. "We tried to push them as much as they could, they got up on us early again and we had to battle back. You can only battle back so much and they had some bounces go their way on a couple of goals, but that's Game 7 for you. It's going to be the greasy goals that are going to propel a team to a championship, so this hurts a lot."

Joe Cullen was credited with the game-winner for Dayton, making it 2-0 during a frenzy in front of the net 8:18 into the second period. The puck actually bounced off of the back of Everblades defenseman Ernie Hartlieb's foot and into the net after Justin Maiser's shot deflected off of Everblades goalie Craig Kowalski.

Dayton's first goal also got a piece of Kowalski at the 4:48 mark of the second, as Brad Farynuk broke a scoreless tie with a hard shot from the slot that trickled over.

Florida's Vince Bellissimo cut the deficit in half 13:36 in with a wrister from the bottom of the left circle, giving his team and the home fans a glimmer of hope headed into the third period.

But when Paul Kelly stuffed in a rebound on the power play at the 5:49 mark of the third period to restore the two-goal lead for the Bombers, the home crowd could almost sense doom and the end to another season without a championship.

“Each year is different and brings its own challenges and special group of guys, this year is no different," said Everblades head coach Gerry Fleming.  "We had a great group of guys. I wish that we'd had a better fate and ended on a better note, but I just appreciated the way they conducted themselves on and off the ice. They're a classy group of guys and I thought they deserved better, but we lost to a good team."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 72 13 34 8 47
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 74 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 70 13 26 -3 39
B. Boyes 73 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 74 11 24 11 35
J. Hayes 65 18 13 -5 31
A. Barkov 64 14 17 -2 31
B. Campbell 75 3 21 2 24
B. Pirri 42 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 12 .921 2.33
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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