ESTERO, Fla. — Ernie Hartlieb scored in his first game with the Florida Everblades since the 2013-14 season, but the Orlando Solar Bears struck three times on the power play to pick up a 7-2 win over the Everblades on Friday night at Hertz Arena.
With a shortened bench due to a string of four AHL call-ups, the Everblades (37-15-5-0, 79 pts.) added a pair of local former Everblades, including Hartlieb, to the lineup for the game but couldn’t climb out of a 3-0 hole after two periods in their second straight setback to Orlando (31-19-4-0, 66 pts.).
The Solar Bears got on the board first with a highlight reel play by Otto Somppi at 3:22 of the second period. As Somppi received the puck on the side of the net from Tayler Thompson, he lifted the puck onto the blade of his stick and snuck it in over the right shoulder of Florida goaltender Jamie Phillips (21 saves).
Brent Pedersen then tallied the next two goals for Orlando, the first two points of his five-point night. He tapped in a rebound with 6:50 left in the second period and added a power-play goal by redirecting a shot from Mathieu Foget with 3:40 remaining in the second frame.
Michael Neville got the ‘Blades into the score column at 4:09 of the third period, 48 seconds into a five-on-three power play. With the 'Blades buzzing in the Orlando end, Blake Winiecki sent a pass through the slot to Shane Walsh, who squeaked a shot through Orlando goaltender Clint Windsor. The puck laid in the blue paint for Neville to swoop in and hammer it home for his 10th goal of the season.
The Solar Bears answered back with a nearly identical goal just a little over a minute later when Dylan Fitze swept a rebound past Phillips.
With seven seconds left on a power play, Orlando made it a 5-1 lead with a one-timer feed from behind the net to Somppi, who beat Phillips high on his blocker side for his second goal of the night.
Hartlieb scored his goal in his first game in five years on the power play at 13:54 of the third. Coming into the zone on a rush, Hartlieb positioned himself in the slot for a pass from Nathan Perkovich. He wasted no time potting with a wrist shot that beat Windsor on the blocker side.
Orlando added its third power-play goal via Trevor Olson and finished the scoring with a four-on-four goal from Troy Bourke with 52 seconds remaining in the game.
Windsor was awarded the victory for the Solar Bears, stopping 26 of the 28 shots fired his way.
Florida aims to snap a brief two-game losing streak when it finishes the stretch of three straight games against Orlando on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Amway Center.
Single-game tickets for all regular season home games start at just $10!
Ticket packages for the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Smile Direct Club and 2019-20 season ticket packages are on sale now! Become part of the Everblades Family with a Partial Season or a Flexible Voucher Package that fits your schedule and budget! All Ticket & Voucher Packages provide savings and special benefits! To view the Ticket & Voucher Package options CLICK HERE.
SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new ticket package for the 2018-19 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford’s Garage and an Everblades tote bag!
Private Arena Tours are also available to select your season seats! Call the Everblades office at 239-948-7825 to schedule your tour today!
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes