Jacksonville Sports Day

ECHL: Jacksonville Icemen Hand Undefeated Florida Everblades 5-3 Loss

PHOTO By NANCY BEECHER/Florida Sports Wire

JACKSONVILLE – Florida has scored first in every game this season. Monday night would be no exception, except for a final outcome.

Ara Nazarian scored with five minutes to play as Jacksonville handed Florida its first loss of the season with a 5-3 ECHL victory before 2,868 at Veteran’s Memorial Arena. Nick Saracino added an open net goal.
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Florida’s Cameron Hebig scored his third goal of the season to make it 1-0 in the opening two minutes.

But the Iceman fought back with goals in each period to tie the game at 3-3 on Matt Felipe’s first goal of the season with 15:19 to play in the contest.

Florida had only trailed in a game once this season. That was on Dec. 18 at Greenville and has outscored opponents 28-11.

A breakaway by Blake Winiecki less than three minutes later added to the visitors lead. Alex Kile then capped a three-goal advantage with his third tally of the season.

The Icemen scored with less than a minute to play in the opening period. Mike Szmatula lit the lamp with his second goal of the season to spoil any shutout.

Craig Martin shot from the right circle beat Devin Cooley and cut the lead to 3-2 in the second.

Cooley made 15 saves in the net for Florida. Eamon McAdam stopped 22 shots for the Icemen.

The Everblades still lead the All-Time Series 32-5-3-1, while also leading the season series 2-1-0.

The Icemen were without their leading scorer and captain Wacey Rabbit. Rabbit sustained an injury in Saturday’s 4-0 loss at Florida. Rabbit leads the club with four points (2g, 2a).

After six games in the 2020-21 regular season, the Everblades lead the ECHL in goal scoring, goals against, power-play percentage, and penalty-kill percentage.

Before the game, the Icemen agreed to terms with forward Christopher Brown.

Brown, 24, joins the Icemen after recording 19 points (11g, 8a) in 38 games played with the Wheeling Nailers last season. The 6-0, 185-pound forward earned an AHL call-up last season and appeared in 16 games with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

Brown played four collegiate seasons at Boston College totaling 72 points (27g, 45a) in 151 career games. He captained the Golden Eagles for two seasons from 2018-2020.

He was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Brown’s father, Doug Brown appeared in 854 NHL games and won two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Redwings in 1997 & 1998.

The Icemen travel to Orlando to face the Solar Bears tomorrow night. Saturday, Jan. 2 they host South Carolina at 7 p.m.

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