ORLANDO, Fla. — Captain clutch was at it again for the Florida Everblades on Friday night at the Amway Center in Orlando.
John McCarron scored with 5:12 left in double overtime to send the Florida Everblades to a 2-1 win over the Orlando Solar Bears, helping the ‘Blades win the best-of-seven South Division Finals, 4-1, and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season.
After Orlando goaltender Connor Ingram tried to play the puck behind the net, Florida forced a turnover that Michael Neville grabbed behind the goal line extended and fed out front to McCarron. The ‘Blades captain quickly got rid of the puck before Ingram could get back in goal to end Orlando’s season for the third straight year.
Almost 90 minutes prior to McCarron’s strike, Orlando opened the scoring on its first special teams’ goal of the series, a shorthanded tally from Hunter Fejes. Fejes helped create an odd-man rush for Orlando and eventually snapped off a shot from just inside the left-wing circle that beat Florida goaltender Callum Booth five-hole at the 6:53 mark of the opening period.
Florida bounced back later in the first to tie the game with less than six minutes left before the intermission. Following a long battle in the right-wing corner, Riley Weselowski managed to spring the puck free and slide it up the wall to John McCarron. McCarron whipped it to Michael Downing in the deep slot, and Downing rifled a shot past Ingram with 5:58 left in the first.
McCarron posted his fourth multi-point game of this postseason with a goal and an assist. He has 19 multi-point efforts in the postseason in his career.
Booth again put forth another stupendous effort in net. He stopped a career-high 47 shots to earn his fourth straight win.
Florida has now advanced to the conference finals six times in team history. This is only the second time in team history the ‘Blades have made consecutive appearances in the conference finals.
The ‘Blades will await the winner of the North Division Finals between Newfoundland and Manchester. Regardless of which team wins that series, Florida will host Games 1 and 2 at Hertz Arena this Friday and Saturday. Friday’s Game 1 will start at 7:30 p.m.
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The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes