2022 Toledo Walleye vs Florida Everblades

Everblades Take Game 4, One Win From Kelly Cup Glory

Everblades Take Game 4, One Win From Kelly Cup Glory

Lukas Kaelble was the Everblades hero, putting in the game-winner in overtime.

Jun 11, 2022 by Mike Ashmore
Everblades Take Game 4, One Win From Kelly Cup Glory

One win away.

After a decade of trying, the Florida Everblades are within 60 minutes of bringing the championship back to Estero after a dramatic, 3-2 comeback win over the Toledo Walleye in Game 4 of the Kelly Cup Final at Hertz Arena on Friday night.

They now take a commanding three games to one lead in the best-of-seven series, and will have a chance to win the ECHL’s most coveted prize at home on Saturday night, a game that will be broadcast exclusively on FloHockey.

As it’s been all regular season and postseason long, however, FloSports was the home to another gem on Friday. It seemed the Walleye were well on their way to evening the series up, but Joe Pendenza scored the game-tying goal with goaltender Cam Johnson on the bench for the extra attacker, finding the net with 20.2 seconds left in regulation on a one-timer from the top of the right circle.

With 4:15 remaining in overtime, Matteo Gennaro and Lukas Kaelble worked a 1-on-3 to perfection for the game-winner. Gennaro skated up the right side and then slightly curled towards the slot, dropping a pass for the first-year pro out of Lake Superior State and then Clarkson University, who beat Walleye goaltender Billy Christopolous high blocker side to send the sellout crowd into a frenzy.

Game 4 Highlights: Florida Vs. Toledo

On a team where the core group has received plenty of attention, it interesting  that it was was the less-heralded Kaelble who was ultimately the hero. A defenseman who was a grad student transfer to Clarkson after four years at Lake Superior State, the German was a largely unnoticed signing by the Everblades on April 6, posting a 1-5—6 line in the team’s final nine regular season games. 

He established himself as a regular in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, but still remained under the radar until Friday, when he not only scored his first goal of the postseason, but one of the biggest goals in Florida franchise history.

Jake McLaughlin opened the scoring for the 'Blades at the 8:21 mark of the first period, but Toledo answered back a little more than six minutes later when Josh Dickinson made it a 1-1 game.

Matt Berry’s goal with just 2:34 left in regulation seemed like it was set to be the game-winner before Pendenza’s heroics, and Kaelble eventually did the rest to put Florida on the brink of their first Kelly Cup since 2012.

Cam Johnson finished with 40 saves on the night in a winning effort, while Christopolous stopped 44 of the 47 shots he faced in a tough-luck loss.