ESTERO, Fla. – The Florida Everblades surrendered the first three goals of the contest before Joe Pendenza answered with two goals of his own, but the Blades fell to the Orlando Solar Bears 4-2 in the rubber game of a three-game series before 6,255 fans Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
Orlando jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead, netting a pair of goals less than two minutes apart. Ryan Cox’s first goal of the season came midway through the Solar Bears’ first power-play opportunity of the night at 5:28, followed by a Bennett MacArthur even-strength tally at 7:10. Both players’ goals were their first of the season.
Cox registered his second goal of the game just shy of the four-minute mark of the middle period, extending the visitors’ lead to 3-0. The Everblades were finally able to solve Orlando netminder Brandon Halverson with 3:57 to play in the period, as Pendenza fired home his second tally of the year with Sean Josling and Nathan Staios picking up the assists. Florida turned the tables on Orlando, outshooting the Solar Bears 17-6 in the middle 20 minutes, after trailing in the shot department 13-7 after the first period.
With the Everblades’ goal empty late in the third period, Pendenza collected his second goal of the game at the 17:39 mark to trim Orlando’s lead to 3-2. Josling added his second helper of the contest, while Bobo Carpenter also picked up an assist.
Orlando tacked on an empty net goal from Luke Boka at 18:50 of the final frame.
The Everblades outshot Orlando 16-5 in the third period to claim a 40-24 edge in shots on goal on the night.
Everblades netminder Evan Cormier (2-1-0-0) made 20 saves and suffered his first setback in three games this season, while Halverson (3-2-0-0) made 38 saves for Orlando and earned a second-straight victory.
With the four-game homestand complete, the Everblades will hit the road for four South Division matchups, including the team’s first trip outside the Sunshine State. The Blades will visit the Greenville Swamp Rabbits for three games in three days starting on Friday, November 10 at 7:05 p.m. Following the three-game set in the Palmetto State and a pitstop in Orlando on Wednesday, November 15, the Everblades will return to Hertz Arena for a two-game set with the Atlanta Gladiators on Friday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m. Visit floridaeverblades.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
After sitting out Friday’s contest, Joe Pendenza paid immediate dividends in his return to the Everblades’ lineup. With a pair of goals, the assistant captain ran his point streak to three games, with his previous goal coming last Saturday versus Jacksonville. Pendenza had an assist in Wednesday’s 4-0 triumph versus Orlando.
Sean Josling assisted on both of Pendenza’s goals, and got back on the scoresheet after seeing his season-opening five-game point streak get snapped on Friday.
Nathan Staios extended his point streak to three contests, including assists in back-to-back games, while Bobo Carpenter tallied his first assist of the year.
The Everblades peppered Orlando with season-high 40 shots on goal. Despite consecutive setbacks, the Everblades outshot the Solar Bears in the past two games after starting the season with the opposition claiming an edge on shots on goal in five straight contests. Orlando claimed a 13-7 edge in shots on goal in the first period, but the Everblades held a 33-11 edge over the final 40 minutes.
Orlando’s 3-0 lead in the second period marked the first time this season that the Everblades were faced with a three-goal deficit.
JOIN THE FUN
The 2023-24 season ticket plans are on sale now! Become a Blades 365 Member for the 2023-24 season and enjoy incredible savings and benefits! To view the Blades 365 Membership savings, benefits, and options click HERE.
Group Packages are available for a group of 10 or more! Everblades put FUN in FUNdraising! There is no handling of money or tickets and no limit to the amount of money your group can make with the Everblades' easy-to-run online Fundraiser! For more information, or to reserve a Fundraiser Night at an Everblades regular season home game, call or text (239) 948-7825.
Grab the newest and hottest Everblades merchandise by checking out the entire collection that is available online by visiting shop.floridaeverblades.com or at the Hertz Arena Pro Shop!
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV. Listen to the exciting game action on ESPN Southwest Florida on 770 AM, 98.1 FM, 104.3 FM, or online at espnswfl.com or everblades.mixlr.com. Stay up to date by following the Blades on social media with all the latest news, scores, and promotions on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter.