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Savannah Ghost Pirates


Everblades Spoil Savannah’s First Teddy Bear Toss Night

Everblades Spoil Savannah’s First Teddy Bear Toss Night

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Only 1:17 into the first period of the Savannah Ghost Pirates’ inaugural Teddy Bear Toss Night at Enmarket Arena, Spencer Naas struck gold. It came about from a Vincent Marleau steal in the neutral zone that was hopped over to Max Kaufman’s piece of ice in the Savannah offensive zone, where Kaufman was able to play the puck over to Naas who did the rest. Cue the teddy bears.

Soon after that initial score, Savannah went to the man advantage courtesy of a high sticking minor to Kobe Roth. Three seconds into the power play and Savannah had doubled their lead off of a Connor Corcoran goal from Savannah’s second power-play unit. 

At this point, the vibes in Savannah looked as if they were never going to stop. The team was feeling good about themselves, the crowd at Enmarket was amped up, and players like defenseman Brandon Estes (whose head seemed to be on a swivel and was able to locate every loose puck near him) were playing out of their minds.

This triggered Florida’s bench boss Brad Ralph to take a time out for his team and regroup their emotions. It allowed Florida to get back to its basics and show what made them last year’s Kelly Cup Champions. At 10:22 Oliver Chau found the back of the net to give the Everblades life. Shortly after a backchecking Everblades skater crunched Logan Drevitch along the glass, Florida’s grit was beginning to show again. 

Although the Everblades had begun to play extremely physically, the first frame still seemed to be in the control of Savannah as a whole, outside of the final two minutes in which Savannah iced the puck three separate times in quick succession.

In the second period, Savannah seemed to be unable to break out of the neutral zone, or even at times their own defensive zone, without being extremely creative. There were no clean exits, and most attempts required two to four quick passes to even have an attempt of a Savannah skater leaking out into the attacking zone.

A too many men on the ice penalty midway through the second ended up being the turning point that completely flipped the game script on its axis for Savannah, however. Drevitch served the minor, and just as he was skating out of the penalty box attempting to get back and assist his linemates in a defensive effort, Ben Masella was rewarded for his persistence net side, netting an unassisted marker to tie the game and giving Florida all the momentum going forward.

Following the second goal in the period from Florida, Darian Skeoch decided to take things into his own hands, quite literally, in order to give Enmarket and his club their energy back.

The colossus fight was not rewarded in the way the crowd was hoping though, as Florida scored a fourth unanswered goal only 1:04 later from Cam Morrison.

For Florida, the third frame was a chance for them to continue feeling superhuman about themselves and their play. Not only did they spend the majority of the first 1:15 of the third skating circles around their attacking zone before netting the first shot on goal of the period. They also had a beauty of a goal that saw Jake Smith come in on a rush to the net that happened so quickly I could barely believe it happened.

That goal would be the last action Isaiah Saville saw for the night as Darion Hanson came in as his replacement, and it would end up being the final score from either team on the night.

For Savannah, this was not the result they had hoped for on such an amazing night as the Teddy Bear Toss. Naas spoke to the media after the game and gave his thoughts on what went right as well as wrong after coming off to a quick start in the goal column for his team.

“That’s our goal each game. To get the first goal, and we were able to get the first two. We just weren’t able to build on it. So it’s really too bad that we didn’t use that momentum early. They had to call a timeout and we weren’t able to continue to put that press on, but again you have to give them some credit too. They are a veteran team, and they fought back. They have a lot of pride, so we knew that was coming and just didn’t quite have an answer for it.”

The final for the night came out to a 6-2 victory for the Florida Everblades which saw every goal on the night scored by a separate skater.

For Savannah, they hope to shake off this game from their memory as they regroup for their Sunday matchup against the Atlanta Gladiators at home. Meanwhile Florida gets a nice lengthy break to revel in their victory, not playing again until they host the Orlando Solar Bears Wednesday.

Your goal scorers for the night:
Savannah | Naas & Corcoran
Florida | Chau, Masella, Kneen, Morrison, James McEwan, & Jake Smith

Assists for the night:
Savannah | Kaufman, Alex Swetlikoff, & Estes
Florida | Roth, Joe Pendenza, Stefan Leblanc, Cam Darcy (2), Smith, & Nick Lappin

In goal, Savannah saw two netminders, with Saville stopping 21 out of 27 for a .778 save percentage on the evening, and Hanson stopping all four attempts he faced in the third frame. On Florida’s side, Cam Johnson stopped 36 out of 38 shot attempts, ending the night with a .947 percentage.

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