ESTERO, FL -- Mike Merrifield scored a goal and an assist to lead the Florida Everblades to a 5-1 victory over the Orlando Solar Bears Friday night at Germain Arena.
It took less than two minutes for the Everblades to score the game’s first goal. Shawn O’Donnell carried the puck to the right side of the net and twisted a backhanded shot across the crease to Mike Merrifield. Merrifield fired the puck into the open net behind Orlando goaltender Bryce Merriam for the goal.
Later in the period, Merrifield retuned the favor, setting up O’Donnell to extend the Florida lead. Merrifield lobbed a pass to the top of the crease to O’Donnell, who crammed the puck into the pads of Merriam and forced it across the goaline for the goal. The goal was the first of the career for O’Donnell who gave the ‘Blades a 2-0 lead at the first break..
Neither team recorded a goal in the second. Florida goaltender Jesse Decker turned aside some quality scoring chances by the Solar Bears to keep the score at 2-0 after 40 minutes played.
The Everblades took control in third period, and extended their lead at the 6:57 mark. David Rutherford carried the puck out of his own end and all the way down into the Orlando zone. Rutherford beat the defender, skated to the top of the crease and shoved the puck around Merriam for the goal. The coast-to-coast strike lifted the ‘Blades to a 3-0 advantage.
The ‘Blades made it 4-0 on the power as Corey Trivino picked up a loose puck in front and backhanded a shot into the net for Florida’s fourth goal of the game.
Two minutes later, the Everblades scored again, as Roy Mathieu steered a pass across the slot to Matthew Pistilli who buried the puck into the net to put the score at 5-0.
Moments later, Orlando got on the board converting on a shorthanded chance. Ryan Cruthers led a 2-on-1 into the zone and saucered a pass across to Joel Broda. Broda sliced a backhanded shot past Deckert to put the Solar Bears on the board.
The goal would not be enough, as Florida closed out the 5-1 win. Deckert earned the win stopping 28 of 29 shots faced, while Merriam takes the loss allowing four goals on 30 shots.
The two teams meet again tomorrow at Germain Arena at 7:00 p.m. Fan Appreciation Weekend continues as the first 2,500 fans will receive an Everblades Team Photo courtesy of FGCU. Fans will also have an opportunity to win some great prizes throughout the game.There will be a charity game worn jersey l auction following Saturday’s game which will benefit the Deb Kelsey Fund.
Ticket Information: 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 at www.ticketmaster.com
Group discounts are also available, and can save fans up $8 off per ticket from the normal box office price. Playoff ticket packages, as well as 2003-14 Season Ticket packages are currently on sale! For more information on all available packages, call the Everblades office at 239-948-7825.