Written by Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, FL – Max Novak finished with five points (1, 4a) to help guide the Orlando Solar Bears to an 8-5 victory over the Florida Everblades Saturday night at Germain Arena. Florida’s win streak comes to an end at seven games, while its unbeaten streak ends at eight. However, Florida continues to hold a seven-point lead for first place in the South Division.
The Blades got the first goal on the board at 13:41 of the first period. Mitchell Heard made a slick in-between the legs pass from right outside the Blades blue line to kick start Joe Cox speeding down the middle of the ice. upon entering the zone, Cox curled the puck on his stick looking for a pass to which he sent to Stephen MacAulay that beat Cal Heeter with a wicked wrister down low.
The Solar Bears answered back on the power play after a two many men call on the Blades. Hunter Fejes scored the goal for the Solar Bears after wristing a shot that clipped off Ouellette and trickled across the goal line to even the score at one at the end of the first period.
Matt Berry regained the lead for the Blades at 7:05 of the second period when an odd angle shot from Spencer Smallman that caught Heeter off guard. Heeter bobbled the puck and Berry was able to force it into the back of the net.
Four minutes later, the Solar Bears tied it again after a scramble in front; Max Novak recovered the puck right outside on the left of the crease and chipped it over Ouellette’s pad to make the Blades lead short lived.
The Solar Bears took their first lead of the game at 15:05 of the second period when Hunter Fejes snuck in behind the Blades defense and walked into the zone all alone and whipped a wrist shot past Ouellette to make it 3-2.
The Solar Bears extended their lead on an offensive play gone wrong for the Blades that the Solar Bears capitalized on the other way with an odd-man rush resulting in a goal for Kale Kerbashian.
The Blades and Solar Bears got into fisticuffs late in the period, and with a big fight from Brett Bulmer it fueled both the fans and the Blades. Moments later, Mitchell Heard used that energy to bring the Blades back within one late in the period off a wraparound goal with only 24 seconds to go in the second period.
The Solar Bears regained their two-goal lead early in the third when the puck bounced over Matt Mackenzie’s stick and Alex Gudbranson picked up the puck and put a shot on net that beat Ouellette. With the goal, Ouellette’s night came to an end after allowing five goals on 22 shots, he would be replaced by Tyler Parks who made his second appearance in net for the Blades this season.
The Solar Bears added to their lead scoring on their first shot on Parks while on the power play, as Kale Kerbashian tallied his second of the night with a shot that beat Parks in tight on his glove side.
Another power play tally by Jean Dupuy moments later added the 7th goal to the board for the Solar Bears after the puck squeaked through Parks.
Matt Berry added his second of the night at 12:33 on while on the power play as he deflected the puck off a shot from Derek Sheppard over Heeter’s pad right outside the crease to bring the game within three.Joe Cox brought the Blades back within two with 3:09 to go in the third with a nice pass from Heard from behind the net that teed up Cox for the one timer tally.
The Blades pulled Parks as soon as they could, and after a misread in the Solar Bears end the puck went the other way. Orlando forward Joe Perry, despite being taken to the ice, whacked at the puck from his belly to end the game by an 8-5 score.
Despite the loss Mitchell Heard continued his point streak for his ninth straight game picking up a goal and two assists, giving him 17 points in the nine-game stretch.
The homestand continues on Wednesday when the Everblades play host to the Norfolk Admirals. Promotional details listed below.
Upcoming Home Games & Events
Wednesday, March 21, vs. Norfolk, 7:30 p.m. $2 Wednesday! Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs, beer and wine in the concourse all night long! College students receive a $5 ticket with valid college ID.
Friday, March 23, vs. Norfolk, 7:30 p.m. Kids eat free in the Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entree. Fans can enjoy bottomless all-you-can-eat popcorn all night long!
Saturday, March 24, vs. Norfolk, 7:00 p.m. Wendy's Dave Thomas Foundation Night.The first 500 kids aged 12 and under will receive an Everblades jersey courtesy of Wendy's! Pregame tailgate from 5-7 p.m. featuring live music and bounces houses fr the kids!
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###