ESTERO, Fla. - In the second and final preseason game of the 2020-21 season, the Florida Everblades shut out the Orlando Solar Bears 4-0 on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
Orlando goaltender Garret Sparks, a former NHL netminder with the Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs, stopped all 15 Florida shots in the opening period as neither team produced a score through the first 20 minutes of play.
The Everblades eventually broke the ice almost three minutes into the second period after Orlando’s Johno May was called for a holding penalty. The Blades power-play unit capitalized when rookie Alex Smith tucked home a rebound that resulted from a Ben Masella slapshot (2:46). The goal marks the rookie’s second point in as many preseason games with Florida.
Less than three minutes after Smith’s score, Cameron Hebig extended the Everblades lead with his first of two goals in the second period. Linemate Myles Powell selflessly passed from the low slot to a wide-open Hebig on the far post to make it 2-0 (5:03).
Four minutes and nine seconds after his first tally, Hebig scored again after burying a Tommy Marchin rebound (9:12). Forward Joe Pendenza concluded the four-goal period for the Blades with a goal assisted by rookie Stephen Anderson and Alex Kile (18:02).
The Blades saw two rookies, Stephen Anderson and Alex Smith, add to their point totals in their second night on professional ice.
Returning Everblades Joe Pendenza and Ben Masella offered impressive performances as well. After Saturday’s second period, Pendenza recorded a goal and an assist in each of Florida’s preseason contests. Masella saw his first action of the preseason Saturday and assisted on the Blades’ first two goals.
Two failed power-play opportunities, one for either side highlighted the final period. Florida goaltender registered his first shutout performance saving all 20 shots on goal by the opposing Solar Bears.
The regular season will begin on Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. when the Jacksonville Icemen come to Hertz Arena to kick off the 2020-21 regular season. The Solar Bears are scheduled to return to Hertz Arena on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7:00 p.m. exactly one week from tonight's puck drop.
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