Written by Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, FL – John McCarron scored a goal and added two assists to lead the Florida Everblades to 4-1 victory over the Orlando Solar Bears in Game 1 of the South Division Finals Friday night at Germain Arena. The Everblades lead the best-of-seven series 1-0.
The Everblades came out the gates buzzing and got on the board early with a goal from Joe Cox. Derek Sheppard made a nice keep-in at the blue line before sending a pass down low to John McCarron. McCarron quickly sent the puck across the ice to Joe Cox outside the crease. Cox wristed a shot through Cal Heeter’s five-hole to give the ‘Blades a 1-0 lead just 1:55 into the game.
Throughout the rest of the period, the ‘Blades were pests in the Orlando end, and were winning the majority of puck battles on the ice, but they couldn’t get the puck to bounce their way. The period ended with the Blades holding onto the 1-0 lead.
At 3:58 of the second period, the Everblades added to their lead fresh off of two minutes of 4-on-4 play. Gus Young brought the puck into the zone with John McCarron to his left and backhanded a saucer pass to him at the left circle. McCarron settled the pass and got Heeter to go down before going top shelf on the blocker side with a shot so fast, it ricocheted out of the net as fast as it went in. As the period came to a close, the ‘Blades held a 2-0 lead over the Solar Bears.
Hunter Fejes got the Solar Bears on the board just 1:51 into the third period. Max Novak took the puck behind the net before sending a pass into the slot for Fejes who was all alone to rip a shot through Ouellette’s five-hole for the goal to make it a 2-1 count.
Brett Bulmer regained the two-goal lead for the Everblades at 10:22 of the third period. After sustained pressure in the offensive zone, Gus Young took a shot from the middle of the point that deflected off of Heeter’s pads and directly to the stick of Bulmer who slammed the rebound into the open net to make it a 3-1 game.
Florida went on the power play late in the third, with just 3:37 to play, thanks to an interference call on Joe Perry. While the Blades were unable to score on the power play, they were able to bring the clock down to 1:36 to play. Moments later, Orlando was finally able to pull Cal Heeter for the extra attacker.
However, David Dziurzynski hit Orlando with dagger in the form of an empty netter from this own end of the ice to end it by a 4-1 score.
Defenseman Gus Young had a big night for the Blades, picking up two primary assists on two key goals. Forward John McCarron was all over the ice for the Blades, as he collected a goal and two assists on the night. While Martin Ouellette was nothing short of solid in net as he put away 22 of 23 shots fired his way to pick up his fourth win of the postseason. Cal Heeter played well, but takes the loss allowing three goals on 38 shots faced.
The two teams will meet again for Game 2 of the second-round series on Saturday at Germain Arena. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. A pregame tailgate will take place from 5-7 p.m. featuring live music, along with face painting and bounce houses for the kids.
2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs Schedule - South Division FinalsBest-of-Seven Series (Florida leads 1-0)
Game 1: Friday, April 27, Orlando - 1 at FLORIDA - 4Game 2: Saturday, April 28, Orlando at Florida, 7:00 p.m. (Germain Arena) PURCHASE TICKETSGame 3: Thursday, May 3, Florida at Orlando, 7:00 p.m. (Amway Center)Game 4: Friday, May 4, Florida at Orlando, 7:00 p.m. (Amway Center)Game 5: Sunday, May 6, Florida at Orlando, 1:30 p.m. (Amway Center)**Game 6: Tuesday, May 8, Orlando at Florida, 7:30 p.m. (Germain Arena)** Game 7: Wednesday, May 9, Orlando at Florida, 7:30 p.m. (Germain Arena)**** If Necessary
2018-19 Ticket Packages are Currently on Sale! Full season as well as 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
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.
Purchase Single Game Playoff Tickets at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, or online via Ticketmaster by CLICKING HERE
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes###