Jackals fall to Everblades in opening round of ECHL playoffs
The Elmira Jackals opened the 2013 Kelly Cup playoffs with a 5-1 road loss to the Florida Everblades on Friday night at Germain Arena. The Jackals look to even the series tonight in Game 2.
Elmira worked furiously from the opening drop to put the first goal of the game on the board, but found the sledding tough against rookie goalie Jesse Deckert. The Jackals launched 10 shots on goal before the opening stanza was halfway over, but several spectacular saves by Deckert kept the Jackals off the board. Florida's third shot of the game came just under eight minutes into the game, but found a way past goalie Max Clermont. Off of a drop pass by Mike Ratchuk, Mathieu Roy put a one-timer home for Florida's 1-0 lead. Shortly after Elmira killed off the first power play of the night, Mike Merrifield collected the rebound of a Brandon MacLean shot and spun it past Clermont for a 2-0 lead at 14:13. Elmira answered back when Kyle Bushee joined a rush, took Louie Caporusso's cross ice feed and fed a shot past Deckert with 1:08 remaining.
The second was a grind for both teams, and they found scoring opportunities tough to come by. Early on a power play the Jackals had their best chance when Jean Bourbeau deflected a Bushee point shot while on the power play. The puck looked like it was headed for the net, but it clanged off of the cross bar and the rebound kicked to the corner. While it didn't count as one of Elmira's eight shots, it was the best chance for offense. Florida, in turn, got its offense engaged on a power play late in the period. Paul Brace fed a pass from the left wing circle looking for a man in front, but Bourbeau put his stick out to deflect it. He got a piece of the puck, but the wrong part, and it tipped past Clermont and in with 18 seconds to play and a 3-1 Florida lead.
The Jackals put forth their best effort to tie it in the final period and outshot the 'Blades by a 10-5 count. In opening up the offense, though, the Jackals left themselves vulnerable to some chances at the other end and Florida cashed in twice. David Rutherford put home a power play goal with just over half the period gone by, and A.J. Jenks finished off a 2-on-1 with Merrifield roughly five minutes later to set the final. Things got chippy in the final minute and some post-whistle activities led to the teams combining for a total of 57 penalty minutes in the game.
Clermont shouldered the loss while stopping 23 of the 28 shots sent his way. Elmira ended the night 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals return home to host Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series on Wednesday, April 10 at 7:05 p.m. Playoff ticket packages are on sale right now. They offer the best value and guarantee you the same seat for all of the 2013 Kelly Cup playoff action at First Arena. Download the playoff package form for more information. Groups of 10 or more get discounts off the box office price and preferred seating based on availability. Call 607-734-7825 to order your playoff tickets today!