ESTERO, Fla.- After 14 years of existence and two previous trips to the finals, the Florida Everblades have finally won the Kelly Cup. The Everblades defeated the Las Vegas Wranglers, 3-2 in overtime of Game 5. Brandon MacLean's series clinching goal came 4:54 into the extra period. The Everblades won the best-of-seven series, 4-1.
The Everblades looked like it would be an early celebration after Justin Shugg and Mike Ratchuk both scored goals in the first period to give Florida a 2-0 lead. But the Wranglers would not go quietly, and battled back to tie the game early in the third period. Everblades goalie, John Muse, the series MVP, then shut down the Wranglers over the final 19 minutes and into overtime, paving the way for MacLean's heroics.
When MacLean's goal found the net, Everblades players hurdled the wall and celebrated on the ice with the packed house of 7,290 fans in attendance.
The Everblades won conference championships in 2004 and 2005 and also have a division championship banner from 2007. Now Southwest Florida is home to a Kelly Cup champion and the Everblades will have a new banner to raise at Germain Arena.