ESTERO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades scored twice on the power play and received goals from Grant Arnold, Tommy Thompson and Nathan Perkovich to earn a hard-fought point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday at Hertz Arena.
In their only game of the week, the Everblades (45-16-5-1, 96 pts.) fought back from three separate deficits to force overtime before falling in a shootout for the first time this season.
Orlando (36-23-4-1, 77 pts.) got on the board first just after its first power play of the game expired. As Riley Weselowski was getting out of the box, Otto Somppi sent a pass through the slot to Michael Brodzinski in the left side circle. Brodzinski settled the puck and placed a wrist shot right over the glove of Florida goaltender Jeremy Helvig with 9:43 gone in the first.
The ‘Blades tied the game at one at 15:08 of the period with Arnold’s second goal of the season. While dragging a Solar Bears player with him along the boards, Patrick McCarron wristed a shot on net. Arnold was sitting at the back door and deflected the puck in behind Orlando netminder Clint Windsor.
The Solar Bears regained the lead on a fortuitous bounce early in the second period. A shot from Tayler Thompson at the top of the circle hit off Helvig’s mask and then bounced off Brent Pedersen at the side of the net and into the goal only two minutes, 40 seconds into the second.
Florida evened things up for the second time with a power-play goal from Tommy Thompson. With Thompson positioned down low outside the crease with ten seconds remaining on the power play, Logan Roe found him with a pass from the right-wing wall. Thompson made a 180-degree turn and snuck the puck through the five-hole of Windsor just past the halfway mark of the middle frame.
Orlando quickly answered with a power-play goal of its own only 1:21 after Thompson’s tally. Off a feed from Somppi, Dylan Fitze went five-hole on Helvig. The assist for Somppi was his second primary assist of the night. He has points in each of the four games he has played against Florida, with eight points total (4g-4a).
Florida battled back yet again to tie the game at three on a power-play strike from Perkovich. Shane Walsh slapped a pass off the back wall to Perkovich waiting on the far side of the goal. Perkovich slapped at the puck, causing it to deflect in off the skate of Windsor with 3:08 gone in the third. That power-play strike gave Florida multiple power-play goals in a game against Orlando for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.
Somppi and Troy Bourke scored for Orlando in the shootout, while Perkovich’s shootout tally for Florida, his third shootout goal in four attempts this season, wasn’t enough.
Clint Windsor continued his strong play for the Solar Bears and improved to 4-0-0-0 with a 33-save effort.
Jeremy Helvig suffered the shootout loss despite making 32 saves between regulation and overtime. The rookie is now 24-6-3-1 on the year.
Florida starts a three-game series with the Norfolk Admirals on Wednesday. Faceoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes