By Andy Kent
Copyright © 2005 Naples Daily News
After trailing 3-1, Florida responded with five unanswered goals to even the Kelly Cup Finals at 2-2
TRENTON, N.J. — So much for the theory that the Florida Everblades have to play the Trenton Titans’ game in order to beat them.
After falling behind by two goals for the second straight night Saturday, Florida roared back to even the ECHL’s best-of-seven Kelly Cup Finals at two games apiece with a 6-3 victory over Trenton at Sovereign Bank Arena. A stunned crowd of 7,126 watched the home team get handed a defeat by a Florida team that stuck to its systems and used its speed and skill to offset Trenton’s trapping defense.
Rookie forward David Lundbohm scored two goals, including what proved to be the game-winner past Titans goalie Andrew Allen 7:57 into the third period during a 4-on-4 situation and Damian Surma added a goal and an assist as the Everblades guaranteed another home game back in Southwest Florida.
Game 5 is Monday afternoon at 5 p.m., at the Sovereign Bank Arena.
“It was a big one for us, and that’s just what it is, one more game,” said Everblades head coach Gerry Fleming after the game.
“It’s nice to tie the series up and now it’s the best out of three.”
From the time Reggie Berg scored the fifth unanswered goal to make it a three-goal lead for Florida at the 11:14 mark, the Titans’ frustrations came out as they started slashing and hitting hard. Two fights broke out in the waning moments of regulation, one between Florida’s Paul Cabana and Trenton’s Steve Munn and the other between Florida’s Ryan Brindley and Trenton’s Les Haggett.
Cabana had been reinserted into the lineup after missing his team’s 5-4 overtime victory the night before in Game 4. He also scored the fifth goal of the night on a nifty one-timer from the slot and on the power play 53 seconds after Lundbohm’s goal.
“I was pretty well rested I guess,” Cabana said. “I didn’t even think I was going in, I was sitting in my hotel room and got a call from Gerry and he told me I was going in and to keep doing what I was doing.”
Tim O’Connell’s slapshot from inside the center circle 13:59 into the second period cut Florida’s deficit to 3-2 and seemed to change the momentum.
Surma then tied it with his shot toward the net at 16:21 that went off a Titans player’s stick and the energy jump was visible on the bench.
“I stepped over the red line and I was tired so I was just trying to throw it on net and it was kind of rolling a little bit, lucky bounce,” said O’Connell of his first goal of the playoffs. “It was a big goal, but all the other ones were pretty big, too.”
The Everblades quieted the crowd briefly 2:17 into the second period when David Lundbohm redirected Steve Saviano’s slapshot from the left point in between Allen’s legs to make it a 2-1 hockey game. Lundbohm won the face-off back to Ernie Hartlieb, who slid the puck back to Saviano for the shot.
But less than two minutes later at the 3:51 mark, on another defensive breakdown in front of MacKay, Bertoli was left alone in the left circle and one-timed a shot off a pass from Deschenes from the back boards past MacKay for a 3-1 Titans lead. That was the last goal MacKay would let by the rest of the way.
“Tyler was there when we needed him most,” Fleming said. “He came up big, he made some incredible saves in the second period especially to gives us an opportunity to tie the game. That’s what we ask of him and he did his job.”
Things were pretty even early in the third until a scary moment for the Everblades about six minutes in when Surma was cross-checked hard into the boards along the left corner in Trenton’s zone and went down hard in pain. He was helped off the ice into the dressing room limping but putting weight on both legs and it turned out he just had cramps.
“I was just dehydrated and my legs just locked up on me and I fell face first to the ice,” Surma said.
Moments later, at the 7:57 mark in another 4-on-4 situation, Lundbohm took a perfect pass up the left wing from Saviano and wristed one from the bottom of the left circle that got between Allen’s legs to give the Blades their first lead at 4-3.
“It went under his pad, I think he thought I was going to be shooting high,” said Lundbohm, who now has a playoff-leading 23 points. “I just slid it under, and the first goal was all Saviano. I didn’t even want to take credit for that one.”
Then 53 seconds later on the power play, Cabana one-timed a shot from the slot over Allen’s left shoulder off a perfect centering pass from Brad Fast to extend the lead to 5-3.
Matt Pagnutti also got an assist.
Allen was pulled after Berg’s goal made it 6-3 and Chris Houle finished in net for Trenton. Florida wound up scoring 11 goals in the last two games after being held to one in the first two back at Germain Arena.
“I thought about taking him out at the end of the second period. We talked about it but he said he was fine,” Titans head coach Mike Haviland said. “The third one Dutch tips it right past him. Bounces go in go in they go in. The two out of the three the puck had eyes. He has been so good and I have to believe in him. (As for Monday’s game), I need to talk to him and figure out where his head is. I need to sit and chat with him as a man.”