David Rutherford scored twice, including the game-winning goal 26 seconds into overtime, to lift the Florida Everblades to a 5-4 season-opening victory over the Orlando Solar Bears Friday night at Germain Arena.
Before the game began, the Blades celebrated their 2012 Kelly Cup Championship win with a special championship banner raising ceremony. Thirteen players from last year's championship team took part in the ceremony.
The emotion from the ceremony, carried over into the early part of the first period as Blades captain, Mathieu Roy scored the first goal of the season just 2:52 into the contest. Roy received a pass from Matt Beca and swung it around the net to the left side of the crease and around the goaltender for the goal to give Florida the early 1-0 lead.
Bobby Raymond scored a rebound at 12:42 and the Blades ended the period with a lead of 3-0.
Five minutes into the second, the Everblades scored again on Rutherford's shot from the slot.
The Blades were determined to not lose the first game of their season, and sealed the victory in the extra session.
The teams battle again Saturday night at Germain Arena.
Everblades Record: 1-0
Home: 1-0 Away: 0-0 Streak: W-1
Everblades 5, Orlando Solar Bears 4
Oct. 13 - vs. Orlando, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 - vs. Orlando, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 20 - at Orlando, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 - vs. South Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 - vs. South Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 27 - vs. Greenville, 7 p.m.