Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis, kicked-off the Florida Everblades’ season with 20 saves in a 4-1 win over the Orlando Solar Bears on opening night of the 2013-14 ECHL season Friday at Germain Arena. The Blades continued their home-and-home against the Solar Bears on Saturday as they took another 4-2 win after trailing 2-0 through two periods. Gudlevskis blocked 12 shots and improved to 2-0-0 on the season, as the Blades rallied with four unanswered goals at the Amway Center in Orlando.
Gudlevskis, 21, was a 2013 fifth round pick for the Bolts out of Latvia’s Riga organization, where he ranked fourth in the MHL for save percentage among goaltenders with more than seven games played and sixth for goals-against average. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Gudlevskis also appeared in two games with Dinamo Riga of the KHL last season, posting a 2.18 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.
During the 2012-13 campaign, Gudlevskis played in four games for Latvia in the World Championships and is expected to hold a spot with Latvia in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
After sustaining a lower body injury on October 10 against the Florida Panthers, Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop was listed as day-to-day and vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced that Gudlevskis would join Syracuse, while Crunch netminder Cedrick Desjardins was recalled to back-up Anders Lindback. Gudlevskis was sent back to the ECHL after Bishop was cleared to go back in goal for the Bolts, where he has made an impressive start for the Blades. The Everblades ventures out on a four-game West Coast road trip, starting Friday in southern California against the Ontario Reign at Citizens Business Bank Arena.