ORLANDO, Fla. – Blake Winiecki scored two goals and John McCarron netted the game-tying goal with 33 seconds to play in regulation, but the Florida Everblades (24-15-4-3) were unable to hold onto a 3-1 third period lead and came up a bit short, dropping a 5-4 overtime decision to the Orlando Solar Bears (24-17-3-0) Sunday afternoon at the Amway Center.
Winiecki cracked open the scoring with his 21st goal of the season at 16:20 of the opening period thanks to picture-perfect feeds from Jake McLaughlin and Dylan Vander Esch in the slot following an initial pass from John McCarron on the left wing. For the Everblades, goaltender Tomas Vomacka registered 10 saves and thwarted a breakaway attempt by Orlando’s Hunter Fejes with six minutes to play in the period to help Florida carry a 1-0 advantage into the first break.
Fortunes changed for both squads in the second period, as each team scored twice in an action-packed 20 minutes of hockey. After Orlando’s Odeen Tufto knotted the game at 1-1 just 1:26 into the frame, the Everblades wasted little time in regaining the lead, as Winiecki knocked home his second marker of the afternoon at the 3:22 mark. McCarron and T.J. Fergus picked up the assists on the wraparound play that put the Blades on top 2-1.
Nathan Perkovich provided the Everblades with some temporary breathing room, scoring his ninth goal of the year at the 7:16 mark, driving home a shot from the slot following passes from Lev Koper and Joe Pendenza as the Blades took a 3-1 lead. Orlando, however, closed out the second period scoring as Fejes picked up a power-play goal on a slapshot from the right point that trimmed the Florida lead to 3-2 at 14:57.
Orlando broke through in the third period. Just 50 seconds into the final frame, Tufto picked up his second goal of the game, scoring off a faceoff from the left circle to even the score at 3-3. Moments later, at the 3:21 mark, Fejes put the Solar Bears ahead 4-3 with his second goal of the game, an unassisted shorthanded tally.
McCarron would not allow the Everblades to go quietly, as he knotted the game at 4-4 with just 33 seconds left in regulation with a shot from the left goalpost, converting his 22nd goal of the season with assists to Winiecki and Jake Jaremko.
In the extra period, Orlando’s Tyler Bird knocked in the game-winner just 1:10 after the opening draw.
Vomacka (6-4-2-2) made a season-high 36 saves for the Everblades, while Ben Barone (17-8-2-0) logged 22 saves for the Solar Bears.
After five consecutive games versus Orlando which included four contests on the road, the Everblades will return to Hertz Arena for the first of four straight home games on Wednesday, February 16. The homestand begins with a 7:30 pm tilt against the Jacksonville Icemen in a key ECHL South Division matchup. Every Wednesday home game at The Swamp features some awesome Hump Day deals, including $3 John Morrell hot dogs and Bud Light drafts. Also, college students can show a valid student ID at the Fifth Third Box Office to purchase their student ticket for only $5. Students can also purchase tickets online HERE. Make plans to be a part of the action and purchase tickets for all future Everblades games HERE.
Read more about the Blades’ busy promotional schedule and great deals HERE.
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Purchase a new Voucher 12 package that allows you to use 12 tickets in any quantity during the 2021-22 season to earn the exclusive benefits of being a Blades 365 Member! To view the Blades 365 Membership savings, benefits and options click HERE.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.