Written by Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, FL – Taylor Doherty scored twice and added an assist to help guide the Orlando Solar Bears to a 4-2 victory over the Florida Everblades Wednesday evening in Game 1 of the South Division Semifinals at Germain Arena. Orlando takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The first period started fairly slow with each team generating few chances, but that back and forth play came to an end with a goal by the Solar Bears with 8:39 left in the period. Taylor Doherty jumped into a developing 2-on-1 on his way out of the penalty box, making the rush a 3-on-1 break. Eric Faille sent a pass to the opposite circle to Chris Crane who quickly got it out in front to Doherty who was ready just outside the crease for the tap in.
The Blades didn’t take long to respond off a goal by the ever so shifty Matt Berry who capitalized off of Bryce Aneloski’s defensive strip of an Orlando forward. Aneloski hit Berry in stride as he broke into the zone and cut by the defenseman in a one-on-one. Berry skated to the slot before rocketing one by Massa’s blocker to make it a 1-1 game.
The Everblades got into costly penalty trouble early in the second, and the Solar Bears were able to capitalize with another goal off the stick of Doherty who planted himself right outside the crease and hammered the corner pass from Mason Marchment past Nedeljkovic to give Orlando a 2-1 lead.
With 9:09 left in the second, Chris Crane pounced on a rebound off of a Doherty shot that bounced out in front extending the lead to 3-1 for the Solar Bears.
With a minute left in the second, things began to open up with both teams getting big scoring opportunities, and Nedeljkovic came up with easily his best save in his ECHL career; the Solar Bears were able to get off a shot that rebounded perfectly to a man at the bottom of the right circle and with one fluid motion Nedeljkovic slid across the crease and stretched out with the glove robbing the Solar Bears of a goal.
Just eleven seconds into the third, the Blades were able to pull within one, as Orlando turned it over in their zone along the end boards. Brendan O’Donnell picked up the loose puck and popped a pass out to Berry in front who dragged it around Massa for his second goal of the night, making it 3-2 early.
Despite the numerous chances for the Everblades throughout the rest of the third, the Blades were unable to get another past Massa, and with Nedeljkovic pulled for the extra attacker the Solar Bears sealed it with an empty net goal by Denver Manderson.
Ryan Massa earns the win stopping 30 of 32 shots faced, while Nedeljkovic takes the loss allowing three goals on 29 shots faced.
The two teams will meet again in Game 2 on Friday at Germain Arena. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
South Division Semifinal Playoff Schedule Best-of-Seven Series(Orlando leads 1-0)
Game 1:Wednesday, April 12, Orlando - 4 at Florida - 2 Game 2: Friday, April 14 vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m. (Germain Arena) Kids eat free in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entree!
Game 3: Thursday, April 20 at Orlando, 7:00 p.m. (Amway Center)Game 4: Saturday, April 22 at Orlando, 7:00 p.m. (Amway Center)Game 5: Sunday, April 23 at Orlando, 4:00 p.m. (Amway Center)**Game 6: Tuesday, April 25 vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m. (Germain Arena)** Game 7: Wednesday, April 26 vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m. (Germain Arena)****If Necessary Ticket Information
Game 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 game tickets may be purchased at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, 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###