The Florida Everblades didn't fall short on their comeback rally Saturday night, using a four-goal, third-period barrage to beat the Orlando Solar Bears 6-5 at Germain Arena.
It didn't look good early for the Everblades who gave up three goals over a 50-second span in the first period. Those early goals not only sent starting Blades net minder Riku Helenius (0 saves) to the bench in favor of Scott Stajcer (16 saves), but also gave the feeling of a long night for the Everblades.
Florida got on the scoreboard in the first period after Trevor Bruess tallied his sixth goal of the year at the 13:07 mark of the first period, giving the impression the Blades would make a serious comeback effort.
The Solar Bears regained their three-goal advantage on a power play goal with just over eight minutes played in the scond period, beating Stajcer on the first of what would be two occasions in the frame.
The Everblades countered with a goal 2:20 later to get back within two goals, only to see Orlando make it 5-2 as the teams headed into the final period of play.
At the start of the third, the Blades seemed to not notice their poor defensive play of the prior periods, starting their comeback attempt three minutes into the period when Mathieu Roy found Carl Nielsen skating to the Orlando net, and the Blades were back within two.
Seizing the momentum, the Blades continued their stepped up play and after coming up short on three scoring chances during a 4-on-4 situation, brought the game to 5-4 when Roy was rewarded with his 16th goal of the season after taking an outlet pass from three-time Stanley Cup winner Brian Rafalski.
Less than three minutes Mike Merrifield's 8th goal of the season brought the crowd to its collective feet, tying the game with enough time left to pull out a win in regulation.
The game-winner came with 7:01 to play in the third, with Olivier-dame Malka scoring on a rebounded Kyle Bonis shot from the point, completing the comeback effort and improving the Blades' record to 22-14 (47 points).
"That was an amazing hockey game," said Blades coach Greg Poss. "To the guys' credit they really came back and played hard in the third period - 11 goals, a fight off the opening face-off That was a good character win for us."
The Everblades hit the road this week for a pair of games in South Carolina against the division leading Stingrays. They return to Germain Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 29.