'Blades Comeback Bid Falls Short in 5-3 Loss to Orlando
ORLANDO, FL - J.J. Piccinich scored two goals and added two assists to help** () lead the rival Orlando Solar Bears (18-17-5-1, 42 pts) to a 5-3 victory over the Florida Everblades (29-7-1-2, 61 pts) Sunday afternoon at the Amway Center. Following the result, the Everblades now have a 12 points to six lead in the battle for the Wawa Sunshine Cup.
Chris LeBlanc gave Orlando an early 1-0 lead as he capitalized on a second chance opportunity out in front of the Florida net. Following an initial shot from Mike Monfredo that clanged off the cross bar, the rebound took the puck into the slot. LeBlanc wristed his shot past a diving Martin Ouellette and into the net.
Brett Bulmer got the 'Blades on the board and made it a 1-1 game. Bulmer got the puck just outside of the left wing circle and took advantage of a screened Mackenzie Skapski to bury his shot into the back of the net. Once again using a rebound to their advantage, Orlando took a 2-1 lead just over a minute into the second period. Circling the 'Blades net, Orlando saw their first two shots be stopped in amazing fashion by Callum Booth. Unfortunately for Booth, the constant pressure from the Solar Bears would pay off as Hunter Fejes buried the third chance opportunity.
J.J. Piccinich would double the Solar Bears lead midway through the middle frame as he converted on a power play opportunity. Joe Perry made a great backhanded pass, sending the puck from circle to circle where it was picked up by Piccinich who squeezed his shot between Booth and the short side post for the goal. J.J. Piccinich put Orlando up 4-1 with less than five-minutes remaining in the second period. Max Novak found Piccinich alone behind the 'Blades defense. Snapping a quick wrist shot, Piccinich sent his shot past the glove of Callum Booth.
John McCarron added a power play marker with just seven-seconds to go in the middle frame to cut Orlando lead to 4-2. With time winding down in the period, Matt Mackenzie fired a shot from the point that deflected off an Orlando player. McCarron backhanded his chance past the now out of position goaltender. The 'Blades cut the Orlando lead in half as John McCarron scored his second of the game to make it 4-3. Stephen MacAulay made a highlight reel no-look pass that sent the puck to the front of the crease. McCarron made a nice deke move before burying his shot into the net.
Desperate for the tying marker,the 'Blades threw everything they could muster at Orlando in the closing minutes. Unfortunately, the comeback would fall short as Joe Perry scored an empty net goal with three-seconds to remaining in the contest to clinch a 5-3 victory for Orlando.
Mackenzie Skapski was spectacular in goal for the Solar Bears and earns the win after stopping 36 of the 39 shots he faced. Callum Booth suffers the loss in goal for the Everblades, allowing four goals on 19 shots.
Upcoming Home Games: Friday, February 2, vs. Greenville, 7:30 p.m. Saturday February 3, vs. Greenville, 7:00 p.m.
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'Blades Comeback Bid Falls Short in 5-3 Loss to Orlando
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