Florida claims Eastern Conference title

The Florida Everblades advanced to the 2012 Kelly Cup Finals with a 3-1 win over the Kalamazoo Wings in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Florida won the best-of-seven series 4 games to 1.


Florida won its third Bud Gingher Trophy as Eastern Conference champions. The Everblades also advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2004 and 2005, and are seeking their first ECHL championship. Florida will meet the Las Vegas Wranglers in the 2012 Kelly Cup Finals, with Game 1 set for Monday, May 14 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.


After a scoreless first period, Mike Ratchuk opened the scoring for Florida, scoring his first goal of the postseason 9:02 into the second period. Kalamazoo pulled even on a Kory Karlander power-play goal 12:13, but the Everblades answered with a power-play goal of their own from Sebastien Piche at 18:11 to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.


Trevor Bruess provided the Everblades with some insurance, scoring his fifth goal of the postseason 5:56 into the final period.


John Muse earned the win in goal for Florida, turning aside 27 of 28 Kalamazoo shots.