ESTERO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades (5-3-0-0, 10 pts.) open a four-game homestand with the first of two consecutive games against the Orlando Solar Bears (3-4-0-1, 7 pts.) on Wednesday night at Hertz Arena.
Last time outTrailing 3-1 at the outset of the third period on Saturday in Toledo, Florida scored the final three goals of the game, including Blake Winiecki’s goal 3:54 into overtime, to beat the Walleye 4-3 in the first matchup between the two teams since March 25, 2017. Jeremy Dehner scored shorthanded and Justin Auger posted his second goal of the game a little more than three minutes later to even the score in the third. Ken Appleby made 24 saves in his fourth win this year.RECAP | BOX SCORE
Series At A GlanceFlorida and Orlando will be well acquainted with one another after the next week, as they square off four times between Wednesday and next Thursday. By the conclusion of next Thursday's game, Florida will have played the Solar Bears in six of its 13 games and will have completed nearly half of the 14-game season series. Each team has a victory through the first two meetings in the season series, with the ‘Blades winning the most recent matchup in a shootout, 2-1, on Oct. 26.
Players to WatchJustin Auger (FLA) - Auger, who is in his second season with the Everblades, leads the team with eight points (4 G, 4 A) through the team's first eight games. With 308 games of professional experience, Auger has the second-most pro experience on the 'Blades roster. The sixth-year pro has spent a bulk of his career in the AHL, suiting up in 275 career contests at the AHL level. Through 31 career games with the Everblades, he has notched 16 goals and 29 points.
Hunter Fejes (ORL) – The Orlando forward is tied for the team lead with five points (2 G, 3 A) despite missing two of the team's eight games. He has had a lot of offensive success against Florida in his three seasons with Orlando and is averaging a point per game in 12 tilts against the Everblades over the last three campaigns. Fejes scored a goal in this season's first meeting between the two teams on Oct. 25 in Orlando and has six career tallies and 12 points against Florida in 12 career games.
Comeback KidsDespite facing a deficit at some point in all eight of their games this year, the Everblades have been adept at climbing out of those holes. Florida has come from behind in all five of its wins this season and has twice answered a third-period deficit to win. Last season, the Everblades had four wins when they trailed in the third period. Two of those four wins involved multi-goal comebacks.
Long Time ComingSaturday's overtime win in Toledo was a long time in the making. It was Florida's first road overtime victory since the 2017-18 season and its first road game decided in overtime since the middle of last season. The Everblades last won a road game in overtime on April 3, 2018, a 4-3 victory in South Carolina against the Stingrays. Florida's last road contest decided in the extra session was a 4-3 loss to Orlando on Dec. 21, 2018.
Shoot It!Dominating puck possession has been the key for Florida to start the season. The ‘Blades have held the edge in shots on goal in six of their eight games and are 5-1-0-0 when outshooting their opponent. Florida has put up at least 30 shots on goal in all but one of its games this season and has rifled off 35 or more shots on three occasions.
Next UpFlorida continues the homestand with a Friday matchup against Orlando at 7:30 p.m. and a Saturday tilt against the Jacksonville Icemen at 7 p.m.
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