Written by Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, FL – Stephen MacAulay Scored twice as the Florida Everblades defeated the Orlando Solar Bears 7-1 Saturday night at Germain Arena. The Everblades now lead the Wawa Sunshine Cup series eight points to three points. Florida closes the 2017 calendar year with an impressive 22-5-1-2 record.
The ‘Blades got on the board first at 6:20 of the first period. Michael Kirkpatrick curled up to the point from down low in the corner before leaving a drop pass to Zack Kamrass at the left side of the point. Kamrass quickly took a stride and fired the puck through traffic in front beating the high glove side of Mackenzie Skapski to give the Blades early lead.
At 15:58 the Blades took a two-goal lead off the stick of John McCarron while on a 4-on-4 situation. McCarron took the puck from along the boards in the ‘Blades end and cut across the middle of the ice and entered the zone uncontested on the left side. McCarron then wristed a shot from almost the exact same spot Kamrass scored the ‘Blades first goal, and the puck went high over Skapski’s glove once again to extend the Florida lead.
The game would stay 2-0 Blades as the teams entered the first intermission with the Blades dominant in the first period controlling both the score and the shots on goal 13 to 2.
Just fifty seconds into the second period Stephen MacAulay turned on the burners as he wheeled down the middle of the ice beating two Solar Bear defenders before going glove side yet again to add to the Blades lead, making it a 3-0 game.
The ‘Blades ended up on a 5-on-3 power play just a little over five minutes into the period, and wasted little time to tally their fourth of the night off. A shot by Nelson Armstrong caused a scramble in front as the puck popped up in the air and fell behind Skapski. MacAulay was able to clean up the scraps as he tapped it in for his second of the night.
That would draw the end of the night for Mackenzie Skapski as he allowed 4 goals on 19 shots. His replacement was Gordon Deifel who stepped in for his ECHL debut.
Tyler Ganly welcomed Deifel to the game as he extended the Florida lead to five shortly after Deifel took hold of the crease for the Solar Bears. Nolan Laporte came into the zone and took the puck to the slot fired a backhand shot it into Deifel. However, Deifel was unable to control the shot as the rebound dropped in behind him for Ganly to tap in for the tally. The goal marked the first of the career for Ganly.
The Solar Bears were able to break Martin Ouellette’s shutout streak of 83 minutes and 3 seconds with a familiar name to the Blades, as Joe Perry added the Solar Bears first of the game while on another 4-on-4 goal. Despite the goal, the Blades headed into the second intermission with a 5-1 lead.
Just 1:40 into the third period, the ‘Blades put a touchdown on the board after Justin Kea chopped at the puck on the right side of Deifel to get it to the stick of Laporte. Laporte hacked at the puck and got it to hop into the back of the net to make it 6-1 early in the third.
Darryl Bootland would succumb to frustrations as he picked up a 5-minute major penalty for punching Laporte. On the ensuing power play, Matt Mackenzie added insult to injury, putting up the extra point just 30 seconds into the power play with a bar down laser from the point to make it 7-1.
With Mackenzie’s marker the Blades rode it out to the end of the game with a final score of 7-1.
Martin Ouellette collected his 13th win of the season stopping 13 of the 14 shots fired his way. Florida vastly outshot the Bears by a tally of 44 to 14.
Upcoming Home Games
Wednesday, January 3, vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m. $2 Wednesday! Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs, beer and wine in the concourse! College students receive a $ 5 ticket with valid college ID.
Friday, January 12, vs. Jacksonville, 7:30 p.m. Faith & Family Night! For every Friday night game this season, kids eat free in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entree!
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! Flexible partial plans are available. These packages 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###