Jakaitis, Gladiators beaten by Everblades



DULUTH -- The Florida Everblades snatched the lead with power-play goals less than a minute apart and handed the Gwinnett Gladiators their first regulation loss in three weeks Friday.

The Everblades also snapped goalie Jeff Jakaitis' shutout streak just over 20 minutes shy of the ECHL record and extended their own winning streak to five games with the 3-1 victory. The final goal was an empty-netter.

"It was a really good effort," head coach John Wroblewski said. "Any time you put up that many shots, it's a 2-to-1 shot ratio, there's nothing to (complain) about as far as play is concerned. I thought we executed on a lot of fronts. We had some detail things that cost us tonight."

Pat Nagle made 38 saves for Florida, which gained precious ground on division-leading Gwinnett.

"We played a nice recipe tonight," Wroblewski said. "We established our forecheck, we broke out efficiently. The game went how we've been playing (during the unbeaten stretch). We didn't get the timely scoring, which we've had. Our net presence just wasn't quite as gritty.

"And Nagle played really well, too. That's going to happen. It's a rare time in the last few weeks that their goalie got the better of ours."

The Gladiators controlled the puck and used their breakout to stifle Florida throughout the first period.

Gwinnett outshot the Everblades 16-2 and the numbers were reflective of the play.

Florida didn't register a shot on goal in the first 13 minutes and the Gladiators kept firing away at Nagle.

Gwinnett had yet to get a puck past Nagle though and was a little slow off the mark in the second.

Florida finally got its first sustained pressure on the cycle 27 minutes into the game and the Gladiators were drastically outshooting the Blades when Andy Brandt broke through.

Chris Clackson controlled the puck in the corner and found Brandt in the high slot. Brandt flung a hard wrister on net and Nagle kicked out a pad, but it wasn't enough. The puck trickled under the netminder at 8:35 to give the Gladiators a 1-0 lead.

"There's a lot of things we talk about that we executed on," Wroblewski said. "Then there were some isolated things that we absolutely, 100 percent, have to get changed.

"I did not like our response after our goal."

Gwinnett was called for overlapping penalties, the first on Clackson just 12 seconds after the goal, and the Everblades cashed in on both power-play chances.

Jakaitis' shutout streak came to an end at 10:06 of the second. Florida defenseman David Fischer teed up a slap shot from just inside the blue line that caught the inside of the stick-side post.

Scott Pitt shoveled home a rebound 48 seconds later to give the Everblades a 2-1 lead on six shots.

"Taking a stick penalty off a neutral zone faceoff -- that's going to cost you a lot of times," Wroblewski said. "Then we take another stick penalty right after that.

"Those are situations that have to be addressed. We will make sure we acknowledge the fact that those are the types of things that are extremely impactful at the end of games and at the end of your season."