ESTERO, Fla – For the first time since clinching their second consecutive Kelly Cup championship in June, the Florida Everblades were back on the ice on Thursday Night at Hertz Arena. In the first of two preseason matchups against the Orlando Solar Bears, the reigning champs appeared to have not skipped a beat, and took a 4-2 victory.
While the Everblades may have controlled the momentum in the first minutes of the first period, it was the the Solar Bears who scored first. Tanner Schachle snapped a rolling wrister from the left circle that snuck through Evan Cormier with just under three minutes to play in the opening frame. On the other side of the sheet, Drennen Atherton turned aside all eight shots he faced in the first, as Orlando took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
But the Everblades bit back with three rapid goals in the second period. David Cotton lit the lamp less than a minute in, and Tommy Apap and Oliver Chau right behind with goals of their own. Chau’s goal chased Atherton out of the game. In all, Florida bombarded the Orlando goal, with 17 shots in the middle period.
The Solar Bears fired home the first goal of the third period, a Luke Boka deflection off of a Louka Henault one timer made it 3-2 in favor of Florida. Great defensive play by the Everblades, and a Bobo Carpenter empty-netter with 90 seconds to play, iced the game for the home side, and Florida walked away with the 4-2 win.
The Everblades and the Solar Bears face off again Friday night at Hertz Arena for the second and final preseason game of the season. Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm.
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