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July 28, 2014

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Wranglers lose a late lead, drop Game 3 of Kelly Cup Finals in OT

After Florida tied the game with 3:49 left in regulation, the Everblades completed the comeback with a Matt Marquardt goal in overtime to win 4-3 and take a 2-1 lead over the Wranglers in the Kelly Cup Finals best-of-seven series.

Florida scored the opening goal of the game on a Mike Ratchuk unassisted breakaway goal at the 8:23 mark of the first period following a Wranglers turnover near center ice.

The Wranglers scored two goals in the first 2:08 of the second period to erase a 1-0 first period deficit.

Following a Geoff Paukovich shot from the slot less than 30 seconds into the second period, Adam Huxley scored his first goal of the playoffs on a rebound in front of the Everblades’ cage for the equalizer.

Less than two minutes later, Scott Campbell scored his ECHL-leading eighth goal of the postseason to give the Wranglers the lead. Peter MacArthur fired a slap shot off the pad of Everblades goalie John Muse, where Campbell was in front to clean up the rebound for the goal.

Florida tied the game just over a minute later on Ryan McGinnis’ first goal of the playoffs. McGinnis collected a Brandon MacLean pass near the Wranglers’ net and fired the puck by Joe Fallon for the third goal of the period.

Ratchuk was called for a two minute cross-checking violation for hitting Huxley with his stick after the whistle blew late in the second period.

The Wranglers took advantage of the power play with a Judd Blackwater highlight reel goal with 46 seconds left in the second period.

Blackwater was tripped with the puck as he was approaching the Everblades’ cage and fell to the ice. While on the floor, he kept his eye on the puck and used his stick to glide it by Muse for the go-ahead goal.

After a scoreless 16 minutes to start the third period, the Everblades scored the game-tying goal on a Justin Shugg blast from the slot, coming off the center ice pass from Matt Beca with 3:49 in regulation.

The Wranglers had quality looks in overtime from Eric Lampe, Adam Miller and MacArthur, but Muse turned away all seven shots he faced in sudden death.

After the Wranglers committed a costly turnover in their own zone, the Everblades took advantage of an odd man rush as Shugg found an open Marquardt for a one-timer that found the back of the net for the game-winner.

With the victory, Florida improved to 9-0 at home in the playoffs at Germain Arena. Las Vegas dropped to 7-2 on the road in the postseason with the loss.

Stars of the game: 1. Matt Marquardt (Game-winning goal); 2. Justin Shugg (1 goal, 1 assist); 3. John Muse (32 saves).

Next up: The Wranglers return to the ice at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday for Game 4 of the Kelly Cup Finals against the Everblades. Game 5 will be played Wednesday at the same time. If necessary, Games 6 and 7 would be played back at the Orleans Arena on May 25 and 26.

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