‘Blades Advance to Conference Finals with 5-2 Win in Game 5
May 6, 2018
ORLANDO, FL –Martin Ouellette made 40 saves to help the Florida Everblades defeat the Orlando Solar Bears 5-2 in Game 5 of the South Division Finals Sunday afternoon at the Amway Center. Florida wins the series 4-1, and will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2012.
The Everblades took full advantage of a five-minute power play, following a boarding penalty assessed to Orlando’s Martins Dzierkals on Gus Young. Florida netted two goals on the extra-man opportunity.
The first goal came at 7:08, when Steven Lorentz delivered a pass across the ice to Mitchell Heard on the right wing. Heard hammered a one-timer behind Orlando netminder Mackenzie Skapski.
Florida scored its second goal on the power play just 31 seconds later. Following a scramble in front of the Orlando net, Spencer Smallman picked up the puck out of the pile and jammed it into the net for the tally to give the Everblades a 2-0 lead.
The Everblades tacked on a third tally late in the period with another scramble in front, this time put in by Michael Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick found the puck at the top of the crease just above an outstretched Skapski and backhanded a shot into the net. The goal pulled Florida ahead 3-0 at the end of the first period.
Florida’s third tally also signaled the end of the game for Skapski, who exited the contest after allowing three goals on 14 shots. Cal Heeter took over in relief.
The Everblades built on their lead at 1:46 of the middle frame following a Solar Bears turnover in their own end. Justin Kea took the puck away from an Orlando defender attempting the skate the puck out of the zone. Kea delivered the pass to Steven Lorentz who cut to the slot and snapped a shot low that bounced over the pad of Heeter to put Florida ahead by a 4-0 count.
The Solar Bears grabbed a much needed goal at 6:56 of second period, when Chris Leblanc threw the puck in front from the corner that hit off the skate of Florida defensemen Keegan Kanzig. The puck banked into the net for the goal.
The goal was apparently the spark the Solar Bears needed, as Leblanc would score again on the power play at the 16:07 mark of the period. Hunter Fejes fed a pass from behind the net to a wide-open Leblanc in the slot Lablanc flexed a shot that ripped past Florida goaltender Martin Ouellette for the goal to put the score at 4-2 after 40 minutes of play.
The Solar Bears carried over their momentum into the third period, with an all out assault on the Everblades. Orlando threw a continuous barrage of shots and pressure at the ‘Blades for a majority of the period. However, the Everblades were able to hold off the attack, while Ouellette turned aside all 19 shots faced in the period.
John McCarron put in an end to comeback effort with an empty-net goal tally at 18:18 of the period to seal a 5-2 victory in Game 5, and close out the series 4-1.
The Everblades will play host to the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals at Germain Arena on Friday, May 11 (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday, May 12 (7:00 p.m.) Tickets will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning. The Everblades will play either the Adirondack Thunder or Manchester Monarchs.
2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs Results – South Division Finals
Best-of-Seven Series (Florida win series 4-1)
Game 1: Friday, April 27, Orlando – 1 at FLORIDA – 4
Game 2: Saturday, April 28, Orlando – 1 at FLORIDA – 5
Game 3: Thursday, May 3. FLORIDA – 5 at Orlando – 1
Game 4: Friday, May 4, Florida – 3 at ORLANDO – 5
Game 5: Sunday, May 6, FLORIDA – 5 at Orlando – 2
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