Gladiators win in marathon shootout

ESTERO, Fla. -- Florida Everblades goaltender John Muse played like a winning goaltender Saturday night.

It just won't show up in the stat sheet.

The Gwinnett Gladiators and goalie Jeff Jakaitis outdueld Muse and the Everblades 2-1 in a shootout that went 11 rounds. The Gladiators had a 3-2 edge in the shootout at Germain Arena.

"It was spectacular," Gwinnett coach John Wroblewski. "Talk about a duel. I seriously wondered if it was ever gonna end. There were spectacular moves by the players but goalies made the stops. The ones that went in barely went in."

Everblades coach Greg Poss concurred.

"Outstanding game by John Muse," he said. "We had some defensive meltdowns and they had some Grade A chances."

Everblades forward Mike McKenzie, who had a lot of quality chances this weekend but didn't score, said Jakaitis, "isn't a big guy but he's good side to side.

"He was sprawled so we tried to throw it upstairs, but he's getting his glove and blocker out. Both goaltenders showed their stuff in the shootout."

Both goalies shut their foes down after giving up first-period goals. In fact, Muse and Jakaitis stopped the first six shooters they faced in the shootout.

Forward Luc Tardif, who scored Florida's only regulation goal, had the game's first shootout goal but Justin Milo, who had Gwinnett's only regulation goal, tied it. Forward Robby Dee came right back with a goal for Florida and Scott Fleming answered.

Tyler Murovich scored the game-winner in Round 11.

Despite players and Poss trying to encourage Muse, he had an intense look on his face as he skated off the ice.

"Wish I had gotten one of those," said Muse, who won two national championships at Boston College. "I don't like to lose. I don't think anybody likes to lose like that, but in these games, it's on me. I want to win every time."

The Everblades caught a break in the first period when interference on Muse disallowed a goal.

However, Gwinnett did take a 1-0 lead on a Milo's goal.

Florida tied the game 1-1 on a nice bit of passing from forwards Justin Shugg to Dee to Tardif. Defenseman David Fischer helped start the play with his pass.

"In the first period, we weathered the storm," Poss said. "In the second, I thought we had really good scoring chances and in the third, we did a good job of killing penalties.

"We were resilient. I can't complain about anybody's effort. We're happy if we get at least a point every night."

Florida now will away from home for the next three weekends where they'll play nine straight road games.