'Blades Offense Shines in 5-2 Triumph over Solar Bears
ESTERO, Fla. - Five different players tabbed multiple points, including the first career multi-point game for Cliff Pu, and the Florida Everblades received goals from five separate sources to beat the Orlando Solar Bears, 5-2, on Wednesday night at Hertz Arena.
Florida (34-11-5-0, 73 pts.) entered Wednesday on the heels of consecutive losses for just the second time this season, but the 'Blades scored twice on the power play and Jamie Phillips made 28 saves to keep the Everblades in first place in the ECHL with their third win over Orlando (25-19-3-0, 53 pts.) this season.
Facing the reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Week in Martin Ouellette, Florida struck three times in the opening period to chase Orlando's starter and didn't look back from there.
Kyle Platzer got the 'Blades on the board first with his second goal in as many games, striking just 2:22 into the opening frame for his 21st goal of the season. Derek Sheppard created a turnover in the neutral zone and started Joe Cox on a breakout the other way into the Solar Bears' zone. Cox's drop pass found Platzer at the top of the right circle, and Platzer rifled it low along the ice past the blocker of Ouellette for the goal, Florida's first opening goal in its last four games.
Everblades' captain John McCarron added to the lead with his 21st tally of the season, a power-play marker at 11:46 of the first. A lengthy cycle in the Orlando end came to an end with the puck on the stick of Platzer at the left point. As he received the puck from Sheppard, Platzer fired it toward the slot, and McCarron redirected it in mid-air to fool Ouellette and give the 'Blades a 2-0 lead.
Blake Winiecki capped off the offensive explosion with a shot that ricocheted off the short side post and under the pad of Ouellette with 1:32 left in the first, sending the Everblades into the first intermission with their largest lead after the opening period this season.
Orlando attempted to flip the momentum with a goaltender change at the start of the second period. Corbin Boes filled the crease in place of Ouellette, who surrendered three goals on 16 shots in the first.
The switch didn't affect the 'Blades, and Pu scored his first career ECHL goal just 4:29 into the second period. After Boes made two saves on Pu's first two chances, the rookie picked up the second rebound and flipped it over the glove of Boes to give Florida a 4-0 lead.
Tommy Thompson added Florida's final goal of the night on the power play at 12:46 of the second to give the 'Blades a five-goal lead. Brendan Miller, a former Solar Bears defenseman, ripped a shot from the high slot that Thompson got a piece of to beat Boes for his 12th goal of the season. Miller finished with two assists for his first multi-point game of the year.
Orlando added two goals late in the third from two former Everblades. Former Everblades forward Mathieu Foget spoiled the shutout bid for Jamie Phillips with a shorthanded breakaway goal with 4:03 left in regulation. Akim Aliu then added a goal with 12.8 seconds to play.
With the victory, Phillips now has 18 wins this season and improved to 18-7-2-0.
Pu (1g-2a), Platzer (1g-1a), McCarron (1g-1a), Sheppard (2a) and Miller (2a) all had multiple points for Florida.
Florida continues its six-game homestand and starts a two-game series against the Manchester Monarchs with a 7:30 p.m. tilt on Friday at Hertz Arena.
Single-game tickets for all regular season home games start at just $10!
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Images from this story
Cliff Pu of the Florida Everblades vs. the Orlando Solar Bears
(Kevin Bires Photography)
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