Written by Robert Molnar
ORLANDO, FL – Five different players scored for Orlando while Ryan Massa made 47 saves to help lead the Orlando Solar Bears (36-25-7-3, 82 pts) to a 5-3 victory over the Florida Everblades (45-21-2-3, 95 pts) Friday night at the Amway Center. With the result, the Everblades now hold an 18 to nine point lead over the rival Solar Bears in the Wawa Sunshine Cup Series. With the win, Orlando clinches a spot in the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Just 29 seconds into the contest, the Everblades used an offensive zone faceoff to take the early lead. Winning the faceoff in the Orlando zone, the puck was sent straight back to Kevin Raine. Raine threw a shot towards the front of the net. Despite not taking a deflection, the puck managed to skip right past the pad of Orlando goaltender Ryan Massa.
Orlando answered back off an odd-man rush into the Everblades zone. Justin Buzzeo brought the puck into the attacking zone and fired a quick shot off the pads of ‘Blades goaltender Anthony Peters. However, the rebound took the puck right to the stick of Joe Perry who backhanded the second chance opportunity into the net.
Needing just 12 seconds of a power play chance midway through the first period, Orlando took their first lead of the game off of another second chance opportunity in front of goal. Set up in the attacking zone, the initial shot was fired by Taylor Doherty. Milos Bubela picked up the loose puck and flipped it off the leg pad of Anthony Peters and into the back of the net.
Jjust 50 seconds later, the Solar Bears took a 3-1 lead off a bad bounce out in front for the Everblades. Joe Perry clanged his shot off the post. However, the puck would take a wicked bounce off the ice and center itself right in front of the goal where Justin Buzzeo managed to knock the loose puck past Peters and into the net.
The Everblades took advantage of a 4-on-3 power play that ensued after a brawl inside the Solar Bears zone. Winning the offensive zone faceoff, Brant Harris sent the puck across to Bryce Aneloski. Aneloski wristed the puck through traffic past a screened Ryan Massa to make the score 3-2.
Florida tied score at 3-3 midway through the second period, the Everblades continued to fight back as Brendan O’Donnell scored his 40th goal of the season. Aneloski dished the puck to O’Donnell who drove his way in towards the Orlando net. Getting to the front of the net, O’Donnell wasted no time sniping his shot top shelf past the glove of Ryan Massa.
Just under three minutes later, Taylor Doherty would give the Solar Bears a 4-3 lead on another goal from out in front of the ‘Blades net. Chris Crane brought the puck down to the front of the ne and drifted a pass to the slot. Taylor Doherty banged home his shot to once again give Orlando the lead.
Florida played most of the third period looking for the goal that would tie the game. Unfortunately, every chance they earned in the final period would be stopped by Orlando goaltender Ryan Massa. Unable to find a game-tying goal while also surrendering an empty net tally at the end of the contest, the ‘Blades would fall by a final score of 5-3.
Ryan Massa played extremely well in goal for the Solar Bears and earns the win after stopping 47 of the 50 shots he faced. Anthony Peters saw some bounces go against him and he suffers the loss in goal for the Everblades after allowing four goals on 17 shots.
The ‘Blades will return home to Germain Arena for Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday when they will once again faceoff against the rival Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Eastern time. Everblades tickets may be purchased at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, at any Ticketmaster outlet, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Upcoming Home Games & Promotions Saturday, April 8 vs. Orlando, 7:00 p.m. – Black Out Night and Fan Appreciation Night! Fans will receive a FREE Everblades team photo courtesy of FGCU and a FREE Rally Card courtesy of the Naples Daily News. Fans will also receive giveaways from Wawa! The team will be wearing special black jerseys which will be auctioned off following the game to benefit the Passion Foundation. The team awards ceremony will take place prior to the game!Ticket InformationGame Tickets: Everblades tickets may be purchased at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, or at any Ticketmaster outlet, or online atwww.ticketmaster.comPlayoff Tickets Now on Sale: Playoff ticket packages and single game tickets for Playoff Game A & B are currently on sale. Playoff package may be purchased through the team's administrative offices located at Germain Arena or by calling 239-948-7825. Single game tickets for Games A & B may be purchased at the Florida Community Bank Box Office or online by CLICKING HERE
Discounted Group Tickets: Bring your group of 10 or more to a game at a discounted price, and you may also receive an Everblades souvenir! Group tickets are available for all home games. For more information on group tickets, call 239-948-7825.
This release courtesy of Fort Myers Technical College & Cape Coral Technical College
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes###