By Keaton Hanley
ESTERO, Fla. — John McCarron, Trevor Petersen, and Derek Sheppard all netted goals and Jeremy Helvig recorded 34 saves to lead the Florida Everblades to a 3-1 win over the Orlando Solar Bears in the preseason finale on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
The Everblades (1-1-0) got on the board just 52 seconds into the first period. Kyle Platzer carried the puck into the Solar Bears end and dished the puck to John McCarron in the left circle. McCarron wristed a shot that snuck through Orlando netminder Dillon Kelley to make it a 1-0 game.
Florida then doubled its lead in a matter of moments, scoring 11 seconds later. As Matt Foget crossed the blue line, he peeled off to the right circle and fired a sharp-angled shot from the bottom of the circle. Kelley made the initial stop, but Petersen hammered home the rebound just 1:03 into the opening frame to up the lead to 2-0.
With the ‘Blades on the power play, Derek Sheppard increased the lead to three at the 8:56 mark of the third period. Sheppard received a pass from his defensive partner Jordon Southorn in the high slot. Sheppard faked the pass to the left circle and then rifled a shot low to the ice that beat Kelley through his five-hole.
The Solar Bears finally broke through with 3:23 to play in the third. Brady Shaw worked his way into the slot and wired the puck past Helvig to make it a 3-1 game.
The Solar Bears pulled Kelley for the extra attacker with a little over two minutes to play in the period, but Helvig and the ‘Blades shut the door on the Solar Bears to secure the win.
Helvig looked solid in net for the 'Blades in his first ECHL action, stopping all but one of the 35 shots fired his way in the victory. Kelley suffered the loss for the Solar Bears, turning away 22 of the 25 shots he faced.
Six forwards and three defenders picked up a point for the Everblades in a balanced offensive attack.
With the preseason now complete, the Everblades will head to Canada next weekend to start the regular season against the Newfoundland Growlers. Faceoff is slated for 5:30 p.m. ET on both Friday and Saturday.
Individual game tickets for all regular season games are on sale now!
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The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes