ORLANDO, Fla. – Despite putting up a season-high 49 shots on goal, the red-hot Florida Everblades were held in check on Sunday afternoon, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Orlando Solar Bears in Amway Center. After outshooting Orlando by a 49-26 count and putting up 15 goals over the past two games, the Everblades were only able to come away with an early second-period goal by Blake Winiecki. The setback snapped the Blades’ winning streak at four games.
The Florida attack was relentless in the first period, peppering Orlando goaltender Jimmy Poreda with 20 shots on goal, but the Everblades were unable to light the lamp. Unfortunately, Brayden Guy struck for the Solar Bears, collecting the period’s only goal just 2:59 after the opening draw. Four of Guy’s eight goals this season have come against Florida, which failed to score a goal for the first time in nine periods despite outshooting the Solar Bears 20-11.
Just 2:40 into the middle frame, Winiecki brought the Everblades even, knotting the score at 1-1. Winiecki tipped a blast by Robert Calisti past Poreda for his 10th goal of the season, while Oliver Chau added his fifth assist in the last three games. The Everblades continued the shot barrage in the second period, as an 18-5 edge extended the visitors’ advantage to 38-16 after 40 minutes.
A quick strike for the third straight period gave Orlando a 2-1 lead, as Tyler Bird beat Blades netminder Cam Johnson at the 2:07 juncture of the final frame. Neither team managed to convert the rest of the way.
Joe Pendenza saw his season-best 11-game point streak come to an end. The veteran had posted 19 points on eight goals and 11 assists during the longest streak authored by an Everblade this season. Despite Pendenza not factoring in the scoring for the first time since December 23, the longest point streak torch was passed to Chau and Winiecki, both of whom extended their respective streaks to five games. In that quintet of contests, Chau has racked up eight points (2 G, 6 A), while Winiecki has collected six points (3 G, 3 A).
Orlando’s Poreda logged 48 saves, while the Blades’ Johnson registered 24 saves and was denied an ECHL-high 19th victory of the season.
After collecting power-play goals in each of the last three games and converting on five of 10 power play opportunities in that stretch, the Everblades came up empty on four different man-up possessions on Sunday.
The Everblades will head back home to Hertz Arena to open a three-game set versus the South Carolina Stingrays on Wednesday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. The South Carolina series begins a stretch for the Blades that will see six of eight games on home ice.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the AHL's Charlotte Checkers.