ESTERO, Fla. — Down 2-0 more than halfway through the third period, the Florida Everblades scored three times in the final 10 minutes of regulation to force overtime and then struck on a power play in the extra session to upend the Orlando Solar Bears, 4-3, on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
With 2:51 left in overtime, Taylor Doherty took a slashing penalty that sent Florida to what ended up being the game-deciding power play. On a scramble in front of the net, Michael Huntebrinker punched a loose puck past Orlando netminder Zach Fucale to give the ‘Blades the victory with 1:32 remaining.
The Everblades had to answer two separate deficits in the third period just to force overtime, the 2-0 deficit to start the frame and a 3-2 hole after Orlando’s Cody Donaghey scored with 5:21 left in regulation. John McCarron lifted the lid on the scoring for Florida by punching in a rebound at the 11:17 mark of the third, and defenseman Adam Smith tied it at two on a rocket from the left point only one minute, 23 seconds later.
Following Donaghey’s goal to put the Solar Bears back in front, the ‘Blades had a quick response again to even the game at three. Tanner Jeannot, who was playing in his first game with Florida, forced a turnover deep in the offensive zone and scored on the ensuing breakaway with 3:25 to play in the third.
In the final game of the preseason, Florida received multi-point efforts from Smith (1g-1a) and Alex Tonge (2a) to split the two-game preseason series with the Solar Bears.
Appearing in his first game in net for the Everblades, Cam Johnson turned aside 25 of the 28 shots he saw to backstop Florida to the win.
NotesAfter being outshot 11-8 in the opening period, Florida held a 31-17 edge in shots on goal over the final two regulation periods and overtime … The Everblades were scoreless through the first 51:17 of game time, but then scored four goals in a span of 14 minutes, 11 seconds to finish the game … Both sides finished 1-for-5 on the power play, coming a night after Orlando had six of the eight total man advantages … The two-game preseason series played out in the same fashion as last year, with Orlando winning the opener and Florida earning the win in the finale.
Up NextFlorida starts the regular season on the road next weekend with a two-game series against the Norfolk Admirals on Friday and Saturday. Faceoff is slated for 7:35 p.m. both nights.
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