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Blades Lose Game Seven

Friday, 05.18.2007 / 10:44 PM / News
Florida Panthers

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."

UPCOMING EVENTS

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
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