Estero, FL – The Florida Everblades overcame a second intermission deficit to force overtime but could not prevail when the game went to a shootout, dropping a 4-3 decision to the rival Orlando Solar Bears at Germain Arena Friday.
Behind 2-0 after less than 12 minutes of play on Orlando goals from Mickey Lang and Taylor Matson, the Everblades scratched their way into the game with 4:16 left in the first on a double-minor power play as Danick Gauthier poked in a Mathieu Roy rebound to bring the home side to within 2-1.
Less than a minute later Trevor Bruess had a 40-foot breakaway but could not cash in on the glove of Solar Bear netminder Christopher Gibson, keeping the Blades down 2-1 after one.
Florida was able to pull even at 2-2 with 5:08 remaining in the second when newcomer Philip-Michael Devos grabbed a Bryce Lampman rebound and stuffed it inside the right post before Gibson could recover.
Orlando quickly seized momentum, however, and moments after an icing call denied the Blades a line change Kory Nagy spun a no-look backhander through traffic that beat goalie Scott Stajcer five-hole to push the Bears back ahead at 3-2 with 2:11 left in the second.
Blades captain Mathieu Roy found another equalizer for his club, notching his third point of the night when he redirected a Joe Stejskal point shot over Gibson and in, knotting the game at three just 5:11 into the third.
Both sides eased into a conservative gameplan for the balance of the third period after Roy’s tally, eventually forcing overtime.
In the extra frame, Florida had the only scoring chance as the sides combined for three shots but the goalkeepers held firm to send the game to the shootout.
Despite a 3-1 record coming into the night in the shootout, the Everblades struggled in the five-round affair Friday as only Danick Gauthier was able to score while Orlando got goals from Lang, Mike Duco and Michael Catenacci to give the visitors a 4-3 victory.
Stajcer took the shootout loss in his first start for the Blades, stopping 25 shots between regulation and OT. Gibson, who had lost his previous four starts against Florida, picked up his first win against the Blades on 33 saves.
The two sides will reconvene for a 7:00pm rematch Saturday at Germain Arena.
Tickets are on sale right now at the Capital Bank Box Office, open Monday-Friday, 10:00am until 6:00pm.
Saturday’s home stand finale will be broadcast live online at FloridaEverblades.com and on the Everblades’ app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, with a video webcast available through America ONE, the official broadband and mobile broadcaster of the ECHL, at www.americaonesports.com. Pregame coverage will get under way at 6:45pm.
Beat the Box Office!
Don’t want to pay the box office rate for Everblades tickets? You don’t have to! Save up to $7.00 per ticket with great 10 and 20-game flex plans and group rates for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign. Lock in your flex plan or group seats now for the Blades’ next home game on January 18.
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 Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.###