Florida rookie Alex Hutchings registered a hat trick and finished with four points to help lift the Florida Everblades (15-9-0-0) to a 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones (8-8-5-1) on Saturday night at U.S. Bank Arena.
The opening period was nothing short of a shooting gallery, as a combined seven goals were scored between the two clubs. Cincinnati drew first blood at 1:58 when Christiaan Minella wristed home a shot through the legs of Jaroslav Janus (W, 28 saves, 7-4-0-0) for a 1-0 Cincinnati lead. Florida answered back, though, at the 5:42 mark when Alex Hutchings netted his fifth of the season past Cyclones goalie Marc Cheverie (L, 23 saves, 7-4-2-1) to tie things up at one. Hutchings struck again at 11:24 as he buried a power play goal to give the Everblades a 2-1 advantage. Luckily, Cincinnati was able to pull even at 11:47 when Brett Robinson slid home a loose puck for his sixth goal of the season, giving the game a fresh start. Unfortunately, things went downhill from there as Florida responded with three more goals in the opening frame; Hutchings completed a hat trick at 14:31, followed by Matt Beca and Francis Lemieux goals at 15:06 and 17:37 respectively to give the Everblades a commanding 5-2 lead after 20 minutes.
As busy of a period as it was in the first, the final two frames of regulation were relatively quiet. Mathieu Aubin wristed a puck past Janus for his sixth goal of the year, pulling the Cyclones within two at 5-3. But the Everblades sat back and suffocated Cincinnati's offensive chances to hold the lead and pick up their sixth win in a row.