Written by Robert Molnar
ORLANDO, FL – Joe Cox scored the game-winning goal with just over three minutes remaining in the game to lead the Florida Everblades (10-2-0-1, 21 pts) to a 4-3 victory over the rival Orlando Solar Bears (2-6-2-0, 6 pts) Sunday afternoon at the Amway Center. The result gives ‘Blades a six points to one lead in the battle for the Wawa Sunshine Cup.
The Everblades took a 1-0 lead late in the first period as Quentin Shore banked home his first goal of the season from an almost impossible angle. Receiving a pass from Mitchell Heard along the right wing side, Shore moved down towards the back wall. Shore banked his shot off the pads of Orlando goaltender Cal Heeter and into the net.
In the second period, Orlando would quickly strike back, tying the game at 1-1 just over five minutes into the middle frame. Matias Cleveland the puck near the blue line where he hammered a slap shot towards goal. Moving through traffic, the puck deflected off the stick of Chris Crane and high into the corner of the net past Florida goaltender Martin Ouellette.
However, the tie did not last long. Just 43-seconds later, Josiah Didier ripped a shot high into the net to give the ‘Blades a 2-1 lead. Mitchell Heard received a pass from Logan Roe before finding Didier alone in the high slot. Didier then blasted the puck into the back of the net.
Continuing the back-and-forth second period, Orlando’s Joshua Winquist capitalized on a loose puck inside the Everblades crease to tie the game up at 2-2. Sam Jardine fired a hard shot through traffic and towards the Everblades goal. The puck dribbled into the crease, and the loose puck was eventually shoved into the net by Winquist.
Orlando took advantage of a power play opportunity to take a 3-2 lead. Nolan Valleau came up with the puck at the right wing circle. Faking a shot, Valleau sent a pass towards the front of the net where a waiting Todd Skirving flipped the puck high into the roof of the net for the tally.
The ‘Blades would take advantage of a 5-on3 power play opportunity of their own to tie the game at 3-3. On that opportunity, Cal Heeter did make a couple good saves, but the rebounds eventually caught up with him as a swarming Stephen MacAulay finally stabbed one of these second chance opportunities into the back of the net.
Entering the third period, Orlando looked to be in full control, registering chance after chance throughout the period. However, Orlando was continuously denied by Everblades goaltender Martin Ouellette who stopped all 12 third period shots.
That great goaltending paid major dividends late in the period when Joe Cox took advantage of a mistake by the Orlando goaltender to score and give the ‘Blades a 4-3 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the game. Heeter skated behind the net to play the puck, but the puck took tough bounce off the boards and went through his legs back in front to a wide open Joe Cox on the front door. Cox shoved the puck into the wide open net for the go-ahead marker.
With time running low, Orlando would pull their goaltender to gain an extra attacker late in the contest. However, despite having the extra man, the move would not pay off for the Solar Bears as Martin Ouellette continuously denied Orlando at every corner. With Orlando unable to find the game-tying goal late, the Everblades took the 4-3 win.
Martin Ouellette turned in another five-star performance for the ‘Blades, earning the win after stopping 35 of the 38 shots he faced including each of the 12 shots he faced in the third period. Cal Heeter suffers the loss in goal for Orlando, allowing four goals on 26 shots.
Continuing their trek through the state of Florida, the Everblades will head to the Veterans Memorial Arena Friday night where they will take on the in-state rival Jacksonville Icemen. The game will be the first ever meeting between the two teams. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Fans can also catch the game broadcast on WJBX News, Talk & More on 101.5-FM.104.3-FM, 770-AM or by CLICKING HERE. Fans can also watch the game online at ECHL.TV
Upcoming Home Games
Saturday, November 18, vs. Jacksonville, 7:00 p.m. It’s Marvel Super Hero Night! It will be a Hockey Smash, as the Everblades will wear special Hulk jerseys, while Jacksonville will wear Thor jerseys!
Purchase Single Game Tickets at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, or online via Ticketmaster by CLICKING HERE
2017-18 Ticket Packages are Currently on Sale! We offer full season and flexible partial plans that will best fit your schedule and budget! To view pricing and benefits of all available ticket packages CLICK HERE
SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new ticket package for the 2017-18 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford's Garage!
Discounted Group Tickets: Bring your group of 10 or more to a game at a discounted price! Group tickets are available for all home games. Fundraising opportunities are also available. For more information on group tickets, call 239-948-7825, or stop by the Everblades offices at Germain Arena Monday thru Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes###