Florida Everblades vs. Elmira Jackals
Game 1 — Jackals 3, Everblades 1; Elmira leads series 1-0
Game 2 — Saturday at Elmira, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 — Monday at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Game 4 — Wednesday at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5 — Friday, April 18, if necessary, at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 — Monday, April 23, if necessary, at Elmira, 7:05 p.m.
Game 7 — Wednesday, April 25, if necessary, at Elmira, 7:05 p.m.
JACKALS 3, EVERBLADES 1
Florida 1 0 0—1
Elmira 2 1 0—3
First period — 1. Elmira, Radja 3 (Larocque, Dineen), 5:19 (PP). 2, Elmira, Bourbeau 2 (Martin), 6:54. 3, Florida, MacLean 1 (Lalonde-McNicoll), 14:45. Penalties — McNicoll FLA (slashing ), 4:01; Godfrey ELM (slashing ), 9:58; Pietrus ELM (high-sticking), 14:45.
Second period — 4. Elmira, Demkov 3 (Radja, Gazley), 5:38. Penalties — Godfrey ELM (slashing ), 8:59.
Third period — No Scoring. Penalties — Cowick ELM (interference), 0:17; Dineen ELM (delay of game), 3:50.
Shots on goal — Florida 13-17-16—46. Elmira 8-7-4—19.
Power-play opportunities — Florida 0/5; Elmira 1/1.
Goalies — Florida, Muse 3-1-0-0 (19 shots, 16 saves). Elmira, Stewart 4-1-0-0 (46 shots, 45 saves).
A — 2,041. Officials — Jablonski, Trempe, Stagnone.
ELMIRA, N.Y. — The Florida Everblades lost Friday night, but coach Greg Poss would be content with seeing a similar game unfold Saturday.
Brian Stewart made 45 saves and was the game’s first star, but the Elmira goalie will not be looking for a repeat of the style of play that resulted in a 3-1 win by the Jackals in the opener of their ECHL Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“They hit the post like four times, at least three times,” Stewart said. “We definitely got some bounces.
“We can’t play like that (Saturday). We have to play in their zone more.”
The Everblades picked up the pace after a tough start.
As the Everblades’ play became more impressive, Stewart responded. Stewart stopped the last 38 shots he faced to help the top-seeded Jackals take the first game of the best-of-seven series.
When the teams return to the ice at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, the Everblades will be searching for a way to turn those opportunities into goals.
“You have nights like that where it goes bar and out and other nights they go in for you,” Poss said. “Against Greenville, in the first round, we won three games in a row and finished a lot of our chances. (Friday), we didn’t.
“I thought we had the goalie beat several times and hit the pipe. But, the way we played was good. We don’t want to deviate from that.”
Florida controlled long stretches of play and had several rebound opportunities but was unable to score for the final 45 minutes while suffering its first loss of the postseason.
In the meantime, Elmira is building momentum with its fourth straight win after facing a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-five, first-round series with Reading.
The Jackals converted their only power-play chance into a Mike Radja goal 5:19 into the game. Jean Bourbeau scored 1:35 later.
Elmira had a chance for a 3-0 lead when Radja took off on a short-handed breakaway. Radja wound up and hit the outside of the post with 9:15 left in the first period.
The Everblades took over from there. They outshot the Jackals 41-12 the rest of the way for a 46-19 advantage in the game.
Stewart was scrambling to get back up and recover his stick following a collision when the Everblades scored their only goal at 14:45 of the first period.
“I was interfered with,” Stewart said.
Brandon MacLean scored. Cedric McNicoll had the assist and has points in all four Florida playoff games with two goals and five assists.
Artem Demkov came up with a loose puck and scored from the right circle at 5:38 of the second period after Everblades goalie John Muse had stopped a Dustin Gazley breakaway. Referee Don Jablonski originally waved off the goal, but then ruled it good after talking to his linesmen.
“We had a bad break on the first goal,” Poss said. “It went off our glove right on to their stick. The other two goals were bad changes.”
The bad bounces and the bad changes, however, were a good sign to Poss.
“It’s all fixable,” he said. “The way we played is the way we want to play to win. We’ve just got to be more effective in scoring.”