Solar Bears Stave off Elimination with 5-3 Win
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Solar Bears (5-3) enjoyed their largest offensive output of the 2018 postseason, as Joe Perry scored two goals, Hunter Fejes added three assists and Martins Dzierkals added two points including the game-winning tally to lead the home team to a 5-3 win and prevent a sweep by the Florida Everblades (7-1) in Game 4 of the South Division Finals on Friday night at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center. Florida still leads the best-of-seven series three games to one.
BOGO TICKET OFFER: With the win, Orlando has avoided elimination and will host Game 5 of the South Division Finals on Sunday, May 6 at 1:30 p.m. at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center. Fans can purchase BOGO tickets for Game 5 by visiting orlandosolarbearshockey.com/super.
Click here for the box score.
The Solar Bears opened the scoring in the first period when Martins Dzierkals fed Chris LeBlanc from the right-wing corner, and LeBlanc snapped a shot past the glove of Callum Booth at the 5:17 mark.
The Everblades tied the score at 1-1 when Matt Berry knocked a loose rebound past Mackenzie Skapski at 17:56 after Skapski had denied two initial attempts from the opposition.
Florida took its first lead of the game with a power-play goal at 7:09 of the second period when David Dziurzynski knocked in a rebound past Skapski, making the score 2-1 in favor of the visitors.
But the Solar Bears showed poise in the face of adversity as Perry stole the puck from Mitchell Heard at the Florida blue line and backhanded the puck through the pads of Booth at 13:52.
Max Novak then restored the lead for Orlando with a power-play tally when Hunter Fejes fed Novak from the left-wing corner, and Novak lifted a shot over the glove of Booth at 18:59 to make it 3-2 for the Solar Bears.
Dzierkals netted the eventual game-winner in the third period when he teamed up with Fejes for a 2-on-1 breakout that ended with Dzierkals cutting from left to right across the crease and sliding the puck underneath Booth at 12:26.
Although Spencer Smallman brought Florida back to within one goal at 14:23, Perry sealed the victory for Orlando with an empty-net goal at 19:34.
Skapski picked up his first victory of the playoffs with 33 saves on 36 shots against; Booth took the loss with 25 stops on 29 shots against.
The Solar Bears' five goals matched their previous franchise single-game record for goals in a playoff match, equaling Orlando's 5-2 victory vs. Florida on April 21, 2015.
Fejes' three assists on the goals from LeBlanc, Novak and Dzierkals matched a franchise playoff record held by Bryce Aneloski, originally set on April 23, 2015 vs. Florida. Fejes also recorded a +4, breaking the previous franchise playoff single-game record of +3 originally set by Darik Angeli and Chris Crane on April 22, 2017 vs. Florida.
The Solar Bears are now 3-3 when facing elimination in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Perry led Orlando with seven shots on goal.
The Solar Bears will continue to keep their playoff hopes alive when they host Game 5 of the South Division Finals on Sunday, May 6 at 1:30 p.m. at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.
1) Martins Dzierkals - ORL
2) Mackenzie Skapski - ORL
3) Max Novak - ORL
PLAYOFF TICKETS: The Solar Bears are battling the Florida Everblades in the South Division Finals of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, presented by Coors Light, and will host the following games at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center:
Game 5 - Sunday, May 6 at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets for the second round of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs are on sale now - fans can purchase tickets starting at $18 through the Amway Center box office or by visiting ticketmaster.com.
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