Standing tall between the pipes, Pat Nagle (4-0) turned aside 34 shots to record his league-best second postseason shutout, as the Florida Everblades defeated the Kalamazoo Wings 2-0 in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Picture perfect passing helped put the Everblades on the scoreboard in the opening period. Working the puck tape-to-tape, David Rutherford found a cutting Bobby Raymond (2nd) open in the slot 15:54 into the period.
Pushing their lead to 2-0 midway in the second period, Trevor Bruess snuck around the K-Wings defense and beat Riley Gill on a backhand. The goal was Bruess’ fourth of the playoffs, which ties with Matt Beca for the team-lead.
Despite earning the loss, Gill (7-3) kept the K-Wings chances alive all game long by making 36 saves.
The shutout marked the second-time the K-Wings have been blanked in their three-year Kelly Cup playoff history. The previous time was back on May 14, 2011, when the K-Wings lost 5-0 to the Alaska Aces in game one of the Kelly Cup Finals.
For the second straight season, the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals did not serve the K-Wings well. Kalamazoo lost last year’s game one of the conference finals to the Wheeling Nailers 3-2 in overtime. The K-Wings rebounded from that loss and went on to defeat the Nailers four games to two to earn a spot in the Kelly Cup Finals.
The K-Wings and Everblades will continue the Eastern Conference Finals with game two of the best-of-seven series on Saturday, April 28th with a 7:30 p.m. face-off at Wings Stadium. Fans can purchase hot dogs for all Kalamazoo’s conference finals home games for only 25-cents.
Tickets for the K-Wings round one playoff games are $16.05 and $19.95 for adults, $15.05 for seniors (62 years and older) and military (with proper ID) and only $10.05 for kids ages 12 and under. Fans can save money by purchasing K-Wings single game tickets in advance because tickets purchased on the day of a game increase by $1.
Submitted by Mike Modugno