ESTERO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades meet the Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday night at Hertz Arena, the second straight matchup between the in-state rivals and the final preseason tilt before the regular season begins this coming week.
Last time outJustin Auger and Greg Campbell both notched goals, but Florida's late comeback fell short in a 3-2 loss to the Solar Bears in the preseason opener on Friday night at Hertz Arena. Orlando's Jimmy Lodge scored in the last four minutes of the opening period and Ivan Kosorenkov tallied in the first two minutes of the second period to give Orlando a 2-0 advantage. Florida whittled the deficit to one on Auger's goal with 6:51 left in the second, but Trevor Olson responded for the Solar Bears only 2:49 later on what proved to be the game-winning strike. RECAP | BOX SCORE
Series historyThe two teams have squared off on 92 occasions in the all-time series and faced each other 12 times in the regular season last season. Including two preseason matchups and five playoff tilts, they met on 19 occasions a year ago. Florida held a 6-3-2-1 mark against the Solar Bears in the regular season and earned a 4-1 series victory in the South Division Finals. With a game change announced on Friday, the two teams will go head to head 14 times in the regular season this year.
Players to WatchTanner Jeannot (FLA) - The second-year pro will make his Everblades debut on Saturday night in the preseason finale for Florida. Jeannot, a native of Oxbow, Saskatchewan, played all of last season in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals, suiting up in 37 games and tallying 11 points (7g-4a). He had 170 points (77g-93a) in 267 career games in the Western Hockey League with the Moose Jaw Warriors from 2014-18.
Jimmy Lodge (ORL) - After not playing professional hockey last season, Lodge scored a goal on Friday in his first game back since the 2017-18 campaign. A native of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Lodge spent most of the 2017-18 campaign with the Jacksonville Icemen. He averaged almost a point per game with the Icemen, totaling 49 points (17g-32a) in 57 contests. Lodge has split his pro career between the AHL and ECHL, seeing action in 114 career AHL contests and 70 career ECHL contests.
Proven Penalty KillThough the Everblades took a bulk of the penalties in Friday's preseason contest, they finished a perfect 6-for-6 shorthanded, which included killing off a 5-minute major penalty assessed to Jack Nevins. Last season, Florida was one of the best penalty-killing teams in the ECHL and especially so on home ice. The 'Blades were successful in 87.2% of their penalty kills at Hertz Arena, the fourth-best home penalty kill rate in the league.
Withstanding the BarrageOrlando fired 18 shots on goal in the opening period on Friday night, but Everblades netminder Ken Appleby turned aside all but one of those attempts. However, it wasn't the first time Appleby has found himself in the midst of a shots frenzy at Hertz Arena. In only his second ECHL game of the season last year, Appleby, who was playing for the Jacksonville Icemen, stopped all 22 Everblades shots in the opening period of an eventual 3-2 loss to Florida.
Tonight's BroadcastFans can listen to Saturday's preseason game on Mixlr by clicking here. As a reminder, all of the Everblades regular season games will be carried on WJBX - News, Talk & More (104.3 FM, 101.5 FM, and 770 AM).
Next UpThe two teams will close out the preseason with a 7 p.m. matchup at Hertz Arena on Saturday night.
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