ECHL Game Recap: Savannah Ghost Pirates at Florida Everblades | 03/20/2024

Wednesday marked the eighth meeting of the Savannah Ghost Pirates and the Florida Everblades. The Ghost Pirates are 3-5 against the Everblades. Scratched for the game, Savannah’s healthy scratches Alex Gilmour, Kyle Jeffers, and Griffin Loughran. Out for health/leave: Michael Bullion is out with an injury, Jesper Vikman is out due to illness, and Nolan Valleau is out for personal reasons. Rookies Nolan Welsh and TJ Lloyd for Savannah, along with Dustyn McFaul for the Everblades, made their professional hockey debut in this game. 

The first period saw Alex Swetlikoff start the game, and Savannah had the first shot on goal with a block by Evan Cormier. At 2:50, Florida had their first shot on goal with a save by Jordan Papirny; that shot was then called back and was not considered a shot on goal as it started from the center line. At 4:48, we saw the game’s first goal by Florida Everblades’ Logan Lambdin; the goal was a doozy too! Three shots on goal to get the puck in the net. Papirny did everything he could to get to that puck, but the second rebound allowed the third time’s a charm to happen. The teams went back and forth aggressively, with a great hit by Brent Pedersen, Tanner Vescio, and some Keltie Jeri-Leon and Nolan Welsh poke checks. Coming out with a goal by Brandon Estes with an assist by Jordan Kaplan, we ended up with a tripping penalty against Keltie Jeri-Leon at 14:36 for tripping Florida’s Bobo Carpenter. Then Everblades Cole Moberg was penalized for Tripping Keltie Jeri-Leon, which closed out the first period. Savannah Papirny saw 12 shots on goal with 11 saves, and Florida’s Cormier had eight shots with seven saves. 

 Jordan Papirny, in net for Savannah, started his ECHL career with the Florida Everblades. He has a 5-5-2 record with a GAA of 3.59 and SV of 0.872. Evan Cormier, also with Florida, has a 9-6-3 record with a GAA of 2.83 and SVV of .908. With Jesper Vikman out sick and Michael Bullion injured, Eddie Fritz, the Ghost Pirates Video and Goaltending Coach, was suiting up as the emergency backup goaltender, meaning that Fritz could only enter if Papirny got injured. 

The second period got underway with a Power play. Savannah has been struggling as they are 17.5% on the year with the man advantage, and Florida is leading the league on penalty kills at 85.1%. We saw the first penalty of the period at 1:04 for a delay in the game by Florida’s Jordan Sambrook when the puck flipped up and out of the rink, giving Savannah a two-man advantage for 46 seconds. This was a super tight period with high emotions while teams battled back and forth. At 8:45, we have Captian Matt Boudens with a rebound, make the goal, and bring Savannah 2-1. While battling it out, we saw things get a little chirpy after that goal, leading Florida’s Evan Nause to commit a Holding offense against Matt Bouden, putting Savannah back on the power play and making them 0-3 for the Power Play. Teams continued to get chippy and heated when we saw some pushing and shoving behind the net between Savannah’s Carter Long and Logan Drevitch,  with Florida’s Luke Santerno and Jimmy Soper, but no penalty was called. Battling it out, we saw Savannah’s Noah Carroll take a big hit by Jimmy Soper, with Soper almost hitting the ice. Ghost Pirates nearly get out of the 2nd period with a lead when Florida’s Oliver Chau gets the goal with a deflected shot. Savannah had 13 Shots on goal, and Florida had 11. 

Savannah Ghost Pirates/ECHL

The third period opened with emotions high, leading to a scrum between Alex Swetlikoff and Florida’s Sean Josling. The altercation started in Florida’s zone with a block and some poke checks, leading to both players dropping gloves and throwing haymakers, with Swetlikoff popping Joslings helmet off first to be followed immediately by him losing his helmet. Each player connected multiple times, with Swetlikoff making the final connection, holding Josling to finish the fight, and giving both players a five-minute major. The team rejuvenated and came back with more pushing and shoving. Both teams continued to play with high emotions, leading to some big hits by Logan Drevitch and Brent Pedersen. 

The battle of the goalies was what the third period was about; we saw Evan Cormier with a fantastic save against Brent Pedersen, only to witness Jordan Papirny deny Oliver Chau on a breakaway. On his tryout contract, Savannah’s T.J. Lloyd took some big hits during this period, along with some good offenses he put down. Logan Drevitch saw the following penalty along with Florida’s Mark Senden when Senden came at Drevitch along the boards and started pushing and shoving. Neither player dropped gloves, so they only received two-minute roughing calls, leaving both teams in a 4v4 match. 

Both teams continued to battle it out, making some great hits and saves. Our last two minutes brought two penalties, one by Florida’s Joe Pendenza for Hooking Alex Swetlikoff, making it a five on-four with .32 seconds left in the period, tied 2-2. Then Ross Amour received an interference penalty, leaving both teams in 4v4. The penalty was reviewed and found legitimate, closing out the period tied 2-2. Cristiano called the game for Savannah, and I could not precisely understand what the interference call was for, and that closed the third period with the game heading to Overtime. 

Jordan Papirny saw some great saves while he had six shots on goal, and Cormier would deny Savannah any goals during that period out of the six shots that were taken. 

Savannah and Florida headed to overtime with seven minutes on the clock. Jordan Kaplan faced off against Florida’s Bobo Carpenter, with Kaplan winning the draw. With the puck, Savannah’s Brandon Estes passes back to Kaplan and shoots with a save by Cromier. This time, Kaplan faces off against Florida’s Cam Darcy, with Florida winning the D zone face-off. Darcy heads to Savannah’s D zone, and it’s defected out of play. Lining them back up in Savannah’s D zone, bringing out Noah Carroll, Alex Swetlikoff, and Simon Pinard, with Swelikoff facing off with Floridas Bobo Carpenter. Swetlikoff wins the faceoff with Carpenter hot on his heels, passing the puck back and forth between Carroll and Pinard, back to Carroll, who shoots, and it pings off the crossbar, allowing Savannah to regain control of the puck. Peter Tischke comes from the bench to get control of the puck and passes to Swelikoff, who takes a shot and is swept away by Florida. Florida’s power play ends, and we have 4on3 play. Florida passes between Chau and Josling, and Savannah’s Tiskche breaks it up. Swelitkoff takes a backhander on goal, and Cromier saves it. Florida’s Joe Pendenza, Zach Uens, Sean Josling, and Oliver Chau are now controlling the puck. Drevitch blocks Josling, and Chau moves it to Will Reilly, who joined the fray. Then Josling shoots it across, and Savannah breaks it up with Peter Tischke on a breakaway. Tiskche shoots to Drevitch, and it bounces off the skate of Jeri-Leon, right to Florida being railed ahead by Will Reilly, to Logan Lambdin; on a breakaway, he dekes left then right and finds the back of the net, ending Overtime with a Florida win 3-2.

Both teams played hard, and it showed. Savannah was here for bragging rights, and Florida needed this win to continue their push for the postseason playoffs. Savannah falls to 24-31-5-1, and Florida rises to 33-19-7-2; the teams meet again Friday night, March 22nd, for the second of the three games

Savannah Ghost Pirates’ AHL and NHL affiliates

Stephanie DeLaFleur

Beat Writer covering the ECHL Savannah Ghost Pirates, NHL Vegas Golden Knights and AHL Henderson Silver Knights. Follow me on X @StephiDelafleur

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