With two hockey teams that know each other well physical, tight contests are to be expected. Often times it is bounces of the puck that affect the outcomes.
Having played each other four times already in the young season, Friday night's fifth matchup between the Florida Everblades and Orlando Solar Bears was both tight and physical, and unfortunately for Florida, the bounces didn't go their way, dropping just their second game in regulation this year 2-1 Friday night at Germain Arena.
"First of all, Orlando is a good team. They are probably one of the better teams we have played all year so far," said Blades coach Greg Poss. "But I definitely felt we were the better team in the second and third period."
A mostly quiet first period wouldn't spark to life until a brawl between captain Mathieu Roy and Colton Jobke charged up fans and players alike with less than a minute to play in the frame. After the penalties were handed out, Orlando won the ensuing face off, beating Blades starting goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis (21 saves).
Poss couldn't finish his thought.
"We just didn't finish our chances. Somehow, some way, we just weren't finishing our chances, and that face off I can't explain that, I don't know how "
Reacting to their overall poor first period play, Florida kicked in the offensive effort from the first minute. That effort would generate six quality scoring chances, featuring a wrap around attempt by A.J. Jenks midway through, and the score remained 1-0 heading into the third.
Florida's pressure eventually led to tying the game just under six minutes into the final frame when Jenks slid a well timed cross ice pass to Mathieu Roy, for a well timed fifth goal of the year.
Florida's hard work was ruined by another unlucky bounce of the puck when Rocco Carzo saw a shot ricochet off his skate with 3:42 to play. Orlando clung to that 2-1 lead despite two more excellent chances at a second goal.
"Part of the reason why (against Orlando) it's a low scoring game is because it's like a playoff series. We know each other inside and out, but we definitely felt we could have scored three or four goals tonight," said Poss.
Florida (10-6) and Orlando (10-6) meet again Saturday night for the sixth time this year.