I don’t even know where to start after that game.
For the first 20 minutes, it looked like each team was in a different league. Florida looked every bit like the team that hadn’t lost in 10 straight, and for the most part, Trenton looked just like the team I’d seen find countless ways to lose at Sovereign Bank Arena.
“After the first period, I’m sure a lot of people thought we were going to pack it in,” said Devils head coach Rick Kowalsky.
It would be hard not to be thinking that way after the team was down 5-2 after the first 20 minutes. Chris Poli scored on a partial breakaway and Tyler Burton scored on a full breakaway for the Devils, but there was little else to celebrate for the first period.
On the next stoppage after Burton’s goal, Florida starting goalie Anton Khudobin was lifted in favor of David Leggio, despite his team having a 3-2 lead at the time.
Ryan Lang would score roughly two minutes after the goalie change, and Jacob Micflikier scored his second goal of the night to give the Everblades their three goal advantage through the first frame.
But Trenton would battle back with goals from David Leaderer, Poli and Jeff Prough to tie the game at five heading into the third period.
Both teams traded power play goals early in the third period before Burton scored the game-winner and notched his first professional hat trick on a rebound from a Dan Eves shot.
A handful of hats were thrown onto the ice — something the home fans certainly didn’t do earlier in the period when Micflikier finished off a hat trick of his own.
“It was a great feeling,” Burton said.
“I couldn’t have done it without some hard work from my linemates tonight. The three of us I thought played really well together, and we were able to grind them down and get some good chances.”
Trenton may finally be starting to turn the corner, as they’ve picked up at least a point in three straight games for the first time all season.
“For the first time, we’re starting to get healthy,” Burton said.
“Once we’re a healthy team, we can kind of get some chemistry going with the lines and stuff, and I think that’s part of the reason for our success.”
Although this type of come-from-behind win could certainly spark some much needed positive momentum for this team, Kowalsky pointed to the 1-0 win in Reading where things started to turn around.
“That was a hard, physical game,” said Kowalsky of the Wednesday night game.
“There’s no question we feel a little bit of momentum here, but it stems from Wednesday. We’ve just talked about being hard to play against, and establishing a hard, physical forecheck. Our game tonight was to take it to them physically, because you don’t want to get caught in a run and gun game.”
Notes: Kowalsky would not commit to starting Charlie Effinger tomorrow, saying he needed to look at the tape of the game…Kowalsky described Gerald Coleman as “day-to-day” and “questionable” for next week. I spoke to Coleman after the game, and he said he injured his groin when he caught a rut in the ice trying to make a save. He said he won’t return to skating until Monday at the earliest, and said it seems unlikely he’ll be ready for next weekend…Eric Castonguay may be on his way back from Lowell. If that’s the case, I think you could see Thomas Harrison join Scott Bartlett on the dreaded healthy scratch list. Harrison and Kevin Cormier essentially serve the same purpose, and Cormier seems to be a better skater.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com