ESTERO, Fla. – Chris Ordoobadi scored a clutch goal for the Florida Everblades midway through the third period to tie the game at 1-1, but the South Carolina Stingrays came away with a quick goal in overtime to take a 2-1 victory before a season-high sellout crowd of 7,602 fans for the annual Teddy Bear Toss Saturday Night at Hertz Arena.
For the first time in the three-game series, the Stingrays got on the board first. Johnny Evans wristed the puck from the left circle into the Florida net 11:04 after the opening faceoff to stake the visitors to an early 1-0 lead.
Following a scoreless middle period and the annual avalanche of teddy bears onto the ice during the second intermission, the Everblades finally cashed in midway through the third period as Ordoobadi scored in traffic at the 11:04 mark to pick up his first goal of the season, tying the score at 1-1. Shane Kuzmeski picked up the assist and the1-1 deadlock would remain as the contest went into overtime.
South Carolina’s Austin Magera scored the game-winner just 19 seconds into the extra seven-minute period.
In regulation, Florida won the shots on goal battle by a narrow 23-22 margin. South Carolina registered the only shot in the extra frame.
Cam Johnson (7-4-3-0) made 21 saves for the Blades, while Mitchell Gibson (6-3-1-0) had 22 stops for the Stingrays.
With the three-game set against South Carolina in the rearview mirror, the Everblades will be idle until next weekend, when the Orlando Solar Bears come to town for a pair of games on Friday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m. On Friday, fans can take advantage the always popular 239 Friday promotion and pick up two tickets, two large pretzels and a souvenir program for just $39. Both nights, fans are encouraged to be a part of Ugly Sweater Night while also getting a chance to meet Santa Claus! Visit floridaeverblades.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
With a season-high 7,602 fans on hand at Hertz Arena, the Everblades topped the 7,000 mark for the third time this season in just nine openings. Previous home crowds greater than 7,000 fans included 7,416 versus Atlanta on November 18 and 7,326 against Jacksonville on October 28.
Fan favorite Kyle Neuber made his season debut for the Blades and much to the delight of the sellout crowd picked up seven penalty minutes just six seconds after the opening draw. Neuber and South Carolina’s Garet Hunt both drew five-minute fighting majors and two-minute minors for removing the helmet.
Chris Ordoobadi collected his first goal as an Everblade, and it was a big one, tying the score at 1-1 with 8:56 left in regulation. It was his first point in nine games with the Blades. Shane Kuzmeski’s assist on the goal snapped a personal six-game streak without a point.
Both teams’ goals in regulation came at the 11:04 mark. South Carolina scoring in the first period and Florida coming through in the third frame.
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