ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Solar Bears scored the final five goals of the game to skate to a 6-2 win over the Florida Everblades on Wednesday night at the Amway Center.
Florida (37-14-5-0, 79 pts.) received goals from John McCarron and Michael Neville and led on two separate occasions but yielded four goals in the third period in the first of three straight meetings with Orlando (30-19-4-0, 64 pts.).
Florida continued its shorthanded scoring prowess to open the scoring with less than five minutes to play in the opening frame. After the puck popped out of the ‘Blades defensive zone past Orlando defenseman Akim Aliu, John McCarron won the footrace to the puck in the neutral zone. On the ensuing breakaway, McCarron went to his backhand and lifted it above the blocker of Orlando goaltender Corbin Boes (26 saves).
Orlando battled back to tie the game on a five-on-three power play a little less than three minutes later. Michael Brodzinski located Trevor Olson alone at the ‘Blades blue line, and he raced in on a breakaway. Florida goaltender Jeremy Helvig made the initial save on the breakaway, but Olson punched in his rebound from the top of the crease with 1:52 left in the first.
In his ‘Blades and professional debut, Philippe Hudon helped sparked the second tally of the night for Florida. Off an outlet feed from Derek Sheppard in Florida’s defensive zone, Hudon carried down the left wing into the offensive zone and fed Michael Neville in the slot. Neville collected off his skate and then beat Boes on the rebound from his initial shot at the 6:17 mark of the second.
Orlando bounced back with another quick response to knot the score at two. Just two minutes, 14 seconds after Neville’s tally, Zach Frye scored off a blast from the left point that beat a screened Helvig.
Orlando scored four times in the third period to pull away from Florida. Dylan Fitze tapped in a rebound at the side of the net just 1:58 into the third to give the Solar Bears the lead for good.
Just 1:31 after the go-ahead goal, Otto Somppi picked up the puck in the right circle and beat Helvig after a frenzy of chances in front. Cody Donaghey increased Orlando’s lead to 5-2 with 6:48 gone in the third period when he shoveled in a loose puck at the side of the crease.
The Solar Bears then capped the scoring on an empty-net goal from Mathieu Foget with one minute, 36 seconds to play in the game.
Helvig made 35 saves in the loss for Florida.
Florida has a chance for payback on Friday night when Orlando visits Estero. The game gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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