ORLANDO The Florida Everblades couldn't overcome numerous bad bounces or an Eric Baier shorthanded goal Thursday, falling 2-1 to the Orlando Solar Bears at the Amway Center.
Orlando scored the only goal of the first on a 2-on-2 rush as Blades defender Mike Little was screened off by Bryce Aneloski in transition, freeing Aneloski to collect a centering pass from Andrew Johnston and beat Blades goalie Kristers Gudlevskis with a low backhander with 9:15 left in the opening frame.
Misfortune struck the Everblades as they sought an equalizer, as wide-open backdoor chances for both Kyle Bonis and Rocco Carzo hopped over the forwards' sticks at the last moment, sparing Orlando netminder Garret Sparks through most of the middle frame.
It would take until there were 52 seconds left in the second for Florida to equalize, but the goal that tied the game at one came off the stick of captain Mathieu Roy, who redirected a point shot from Jordan Henry on a 5-on-3 power play.
More bad luck beset the Blades early in the third as shot block at the tail end of another 5-on-3 power play bounced right Baier, who raced in on a shorthanded breakway, scoring with a chip shot over Gudlevskis' glove to push Orlando back ahead at 2-1.
Roy had an opportunity late to tie it back up, dekeing Sparks to the ground, but Orlando winger Ian Slater streaked in out of nowhere for a point-blank shot block to preserve the 2-1 lead.
Though Florida head coach Greg Poss pulled Gudlevskis for the extra attacker in the final minute, the Blades could get no up-ice traction and their short two-game win streak came to an end in Central Florida.
Gudlevskis suffered his second regulation defeat on 17 saves; Sparks collected his first win of the season with 30 stops.
The scene now shifts to Southwest Florida as the Blades continue their three-game series with the Solar Bears Friday with a 7:30 p.m. tilt against their in-state rivals at Germain Arena.