ESTERO, Fla. - After four months away from the ice, the Everblades returned to Hertz Arena in style on Friday night by taking a 4-1 win in their preseason opener against the Orlando Solar Bears.
The Solar Bears struck first on the scoreboard seven minutes into the game when Fabrizio Ricci passed the puck from behind the net to the low slot. Joseph Garreffa was on the receiving end to knuckle a shot past Everblades goaltender Tomas Vomacka and in.
The Everblades responded at the 13:42 marker of the first period after Jake Kearley and Austin McIlmurray entered the attacking zone on an odd-man rush. Kearley’s initial shot was blocked by Orlando netminder Zachary Emond before McIlmurray banked home the rebound along the near post.
The Blades and Solar Bears went scoreless in the second stanza with each goaltender putting on a clinic. Florida led the period 10-6 in shots on net while being on top of the category 23-18 overall.
Florida earned their first lead of the game 3:20 into the third period. Zach Remers connected with Blake Winiecki, who went top-shelf from between the circles to make it a 2-1 game. The Blades ran away with the game from there, stacking on tallies from Xavier Bouchard and Austin McIlmurray, who earned his second goal of the game to solidify a 4-1 Everblades win.
Florida saw points from nine different players, including assists from Jake Kearley, Zach Remers, Jordan Sambrook, John McCarron, Levko Koper and Zach Wilkie. Tomas Vomacka earned the win in his first professional appearance between the pipes, stopping 27 of 28 shots faced.
The Everblades and Solar Bears will meet again in the preseason finale tomorrow evening with a 7:00 pm puck drop at Hertz Arena. Tickets for Saturday’s game can be purchased HERE.
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