The Florida Everblades held off a feisty Gwinnett Gladiators squad, surviving with a 4-3 overtime victory Friday night at Germain Arena.
Matt Beca was the hero in overtime for the Blades, making his second goal of the season a timely one 3:42 into the extra frame.
All three of the Everblades' goals in regulation time came in the first period.
Mike McKenzie got barrage started on an assist from David Rutherford. After winning the ensuing faceoff, the Everblades pressed right back and 25 seconds later Trevor Bruess tacked on his fourth of the season to make it 2-0 less than five minutes in the game. Scott Pitt made it 3-0 five minutes later.
The Everblades defense matched the Gladiators' intensity by limiting their shots and controlling the neutral zone. It wasn't until the third period that Gwinnett got back into the game with three goals to force overtime.
Everblades goaltender John Muse (25 saves) kept the Gladiators off the scoreboard until a 4-on-4 situation with 12:24 to play. Gwinnett used that goal to steal some momentum, leading to a second goal 2 1/2 minutes later on a power play.
Heading into the final minute of regulation, Gwinnett pulled their goalie and with 37 seconds left and capitalized on a poor defensive shift to tie the game.
The Everblades (10-9-2) and Gladiators cross sticks again Saturday night.