ESTERO, Fla. – Nathan Staios and Mark Senden scored first period goals and the Florida Everblades never looked back, cruising to a 4-1 victory over the Orlando Solar Bears before 5,819 Southwest Florida hockey fans at Friday night Hertz Arena.
The Everblades struck twice in the first period to take an early 2-0 lead. Staios struck first, capitalizing on the initial power-play opportunity of the contest just 5:27 after the opening draw. Staios took a pass from Senden, followed up with some nifty footwork and struck gold with just six seconds left in Florida’s man advantage to get the good guys on the board.
With 2:30 to play in the period, Senden skated around the back of the Orlando cage and squeezed the puck through the narrowest of openings. His fifth goal of the year extended the Everblades’ lead to 2-0. Zach Uens and Staios picked up the assists, giving Staios a two-point first period.
Chris Ordoobadi gave the Blades an insurance goal at 3:45 of the second period with his second goal in as many games, as the Florida lead grew to 3-0. Ordoobadi stuffed the puck past seated Orlando goaltender Brandon Halverson as Kyle Neuber picking up his first assist in just his second game back with the club.
Sean Josling’s fourth goal of the year just over three minutes into the third period restored the Everblades’ three-goal lead at 4-1. Senden’s second helper of the game gave him his first three-point game of the year, while Joe Pendenza also added an assist.
Orlando’s Ben Carroll snapped Cam Johnson’s bid for a shutout at 16:41 of the middle frame, cutting the Blades’ advantage to 3-1.
Johnson (8-4-3-0) made 22 saves for the victorious Everblades, while Halverson (3-4-0-0) registered seven saves before departing with the Solar Bears facing a 3-0 deficit. Colten Ellis logged 15 saves in relief for Orlando.
The Everblades and Solar Bears will lock horns once again at Hertz Arena Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. before the three-game series shifts to Orlando for a 6:00 p.m. tilt on Sunday. On Saturday, join us for our pregame tailgate party with live music and bounce houses for the kids. Don’t forget to wear your Ugly Sweater on Ugly Sweater Night while also getting a chance to meet Santa Claus! Visit floridaeverblades.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
The Blades improved to 5-2-0-0 versus Orlando this season, including a s-2-0-0 mark in games played at Hertz Arena. The winning team has scored exactly four goals in six of the first seven meetings of the rivals. Six more regular-season meetings remain on tap the rest of the way, three in Estero and three in Orlando.
Nathan Staios’ fourth goal and seventh assist of the year gave him the lead among Everblades defensemen. With his second two-point game of the season, Staios now leads the Blades’ defensive corps with 11 points.
Since returning to the Everblades’ lineup on November 29 following a promotion to Charlotte of the AHL, Mark Senden has tallied nine points in seven games, putting up four goals and five assists.
Sean Josling has points in five of his last seven games, tallying two goals and four assists during that stretch.
Chris Ordoobadi has two goals in two games after opening his Everblades’ career with eight straight games without a point. Last season with Orlando, Ordoobadi potted four goals in 27 contests, but had a three-game scoring streak from December 9-17, including a goal against the Blades on December 17.
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