ESTERO, Fla. - David Rutherford scored twice, including the game wining goal 26: seconds into overtime, to lift the Florida Everblades to 5-4 victory over the Orlando Solar Bears Friday night at Germain Arena. The game was Orlando's first in the ECHL.
Before the game began, the Blades celebrated their 2012 Kelly Cup Championship win with a special championship banner raising ceremony. Thirteen players from last year's championship team took part in the ceremony.
The emotion from the ceremony, carried over into the early part of the first period as ‘Blades captain, Mathieu Roy scored the first goal of the season just 2:52 into the contest. Roy received a pass from Matt Beca and swung it around the net to the left side of the crease and around the goaltender for the goal to give Florida the early 1-0 lead.
The ‘Blades entered into a 5-on-3 power play and used it to their advantage. Taylor Ellington shot the puck from high in the slot and was stopped by Orlando goaltender John Curry. Bobby Raymond took the rebound and secured a goal for the Everblades at 12:42.
Leading 2-0, the Blades didn’t wait long to score their third goal of the night. Ellington passed the puck to Beca who took a shot from the left circle and helped the Blades end the period with a lead of 3-0 after the first 20 minutes.
Five minutes into the second, the Everblades scored again. Matt Marquardt fed a pass to David Rutherford from the slot and Rutherford used a couple of deke move on Curry to score a goal on an open net to extend the lead to 4-0.
The Solar Bears got on the board at 15:54 of the second, as Nick Petersen received a pass from Scott Tanski and took a shot from the left side of the crease which beat ‘Blades goaltender John Muse for the goal. Petersen is credited with the first goal in Solar Bears franchise history, and putting the score at 4-1.
The Solar Bears scored the first goal in the third period at 15:56. C.J. Severyn intercepted a pass in the Blades zone and fed the puck to Ryan Cruthers who scored a goal with a wrist shot bringing the score to 4-2. A little over a minute later, Tanski secured another goal for his team with the help of Ryan Ginand at 16:57 to pull Orlando within one.
The Solar Bears received a late power play and took advantage to complete the rally. Kyle Medvec fired a shot from the point which was tipped in front by Matt Sisca and into the net for the tying goal with 31 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.
However, the Blades were determined to not lose the first game of their season, and sealed the victory just 26 seconds into the extra session. David Rutherford skated to the slot and snapped the puck over John Curry’s glove to seal the 5-4 victory.
Muse earns the win stopping 43 of 47 shots faced, while Curry take the loss allowing five goals on 32 shots. Orlando outshot the ‘Blades 33-18 in the final two periods.
Everblades forward Matt Beca and Taylor Ellington each finished with three-point nights. David Rutherford scored twice in the win.
The two teams will battle again on Saturday beginning at 7:00 p.m. . The first 5,000 fans to enter the arena for the Saturday game, will receive an Everblades Magnet schedule courtesy of Jack’s Cleaning Services.
Individual games tickets for preseason and opening weekend are currently on sale! Stop by any Ticketmaster outlet, or the Capital Bank Box Office at Germain Arena. The Capital Bank Box Office is open Monday thru Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Fans may also call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, or order online atwww.ticketmaster.com
Season ticket packages are currently available, starting at $380 per seat for all 36 home games. Partial-season packages start as low as $150, and offer a flexible option for fans. For more information on all available packages, call the Everblades office at239-948-7825, or purchase tickets online.