Estero, FL – Facing down a five-goal deficit halfway through the game, the Florida Everblades poured in four unanswered tallies but could not come up with an equalizer, falling 5-4 to the Orlando Solar Bears Friday in both teams’ preseason opener at Germain Arena.
In a two-goal swing nine minutes into the second period, Everblades forward Joe Caveney missed an open net on a shorthanded opportunity that immediately turned into an up-ice rush for Orlando and Mike Ullrich’s second goal of the game to boost the visitors to a 5-0 advantage with 10:53 to go in the middle frame.
Snakebit through the first 35-plus minutes of the contest, the Blades found some life at the 2:53 mark of the second when Czech blueliner Ladislav Hruska bombed a low shot through traffic and in past Solar Bear goalie Allen Ruane, getting Florida on the board at 5-1.
The Blades’ big counterpunch came early in the third as back-to-back goals in an 80-second span from Mark Little and John Henrion pulled the home side with two goals at 5-3 just five minutes into the final frame.
21-year-old defender Austin Levi, a Carolina Hurricanes prospect, sliced the Bears’ lead down to one with 8:10 remaining in regulation, stuffing in his own rebound, but a string of penalties cost the Blades valuable comeback time as the clock wound down.
A last-minute penalty on Orlando’s Shane Bakken gave the Everblades a chance with goalie Zeke Testa pulled in favor of the extra attacker, but Florida could not muster any offense on their last power play and time ran out on their comeback hopes.
Orlando came out of the gates firing, registering four first-period goals from Ullrich, Jacob Lagace, Nick McParland and Marshall Evenson to lead 4-0 through 20 minutes.
Testa took the loss in net for the Blades despite 19 saves; Ruane picked up Orlando’s win on 25 stops.
The two sides will reconvene Saturday for their preseason finale at 7:00pm at Germain Arena. Tickets can be purchased at the Capital Bank Box Office starting at 10:00am.
The Everblades open the 2013-14 campaign at Germain Arena on Friday, October 18, with Black Out Night against the Orlando Solar Bears. Individual game tickets are now on sale at the Capital Bank Box Office at Germain Arena, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Saturdays 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
2013-14 Season Ticket Package Information
Ticket packages for the 2013-14 season are currently on sale—and going fast! Full season packages begin at $380, while 10 and 20 game packages start as low as $160. Sign-up for a new season ticket package today, and receive a $20 gift card per seat to Outback Steakhouse!
For more information call 239-948-7825, or stop by the Everblades main office located at Germain Arena.
Office hours are Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes