Solar Bears win in shootout fashion to defeat Everblades 4-3

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Photo Courtesy of Orlando Solar Bears

Ryan Ginand cut the Everblades lead to 3-1 in the second period to start the Solar Bears comeback victory over Florida.

ORLANDO – Michael Neal scored the game tying goal on a five on three power play with 13:26 remaining in the third period to help the Orlando Solar Bears to a 4-3 shootout win over the Florida Everblades on Friday, Feb. 8 in front of 7,242 fans at the Amway Center.

Neal finished the night with one goal on two shots, while teammate Ryan Ginand had a goal and an assist for the game while taking eight shots on net.

“I thought our boys really showed a lot of resilience,” said Solar Bears head coach Drake Berehowsky after the game. “They battled back, I think they recognized the way they’re playing wasn’t the right way, they came in, they changed it and we’re better for it.”

Everblades leading scorer Mathieu Roy scored the first goal of the game with 4:58 remaining in the opening period, giving Florida an early 1-0 lead over Orlando.

Matthew Pistilli gave Florida a 2-0 lead less than five minutes after the second period started, thanks to a Corey Trivino assist.

Ginand cut the Everblades lead to 3-1 with 11:46 remaining in the second period when he scored with a wrist shot from the right side two minutes after Olivier Dame-Malka gave Florida a 3-0 lead.

“He played dynamite,” said Berehowsky of Ginand’s two point game. “He’s playing the game the right way right now and he should be proud of himself.”

James Sanford cut Florida’s lead to 3-2 when he scored his first goal as a Solar Bear on a one-timer off of a pass from Chris Lawrence with 5:51 remaining in the second stanza.

“I thought he played a great game,” said Berehowsky of Sanford’s performance. “He’s going to get more comfortable too. You have to give all players time, they’re not going to come in here and light it up their first game.”

The Solar Bears entered the third period trailing the Everblades 3-2 after being down 3-0 midway through the second period.

“They were huge,” said Berehowsky of Orlando’s two second period goals. “They gave us some momentum and we were happy to get them.”

Neal tied the game at 3-3 for the Solar Bears when he scored his eighth goal of the season with 13:26 left to play in the final period.

Orlando went on to outshoot Florida 14-7 during the third period, but the Solar Bears couldn’t finish the game in regulation.

“They should be applauded,” said Berehowsky after the game. “I’m really proud of these guys for showing that resilience and coming out and changing the way they were doing it and doing it the right way.”

After a scoreless overtime the teams went into a shootout.

Chris Lawrence scored on the opening shot of the shootout, while Dan Dries added another shootout goal for the Solar Bears on the third attempt of the shootout.

“To be able to come back like that shows great character with our team,” said Dries about the comeback from down 3-0. “After that third goal we were all over them.”

Patrick Killeen blocked all four of Florida’s shootout attempts for Orlando.

“It was important,” said Killeen about shutting out the Everblades in the shootout. “Obviously Larry (Chris Lawrence) scoring the first goal on the first shot of the shootout was huge for momentum and we just kept scoring from there.”

With the shootout win the Solar Bears improve their record to 22-23-2-3 for the season and now have 49 points in the standings.

Orlando’s 49 points are good enough to put the team in a tie for 11th in the Eastern Conference standings.