A pair of power play goals and a late rally weren't enough for the Everblades to extend their two-game winning streak Tuesday night at Germain Arena, losing to the visiting Orlando Solar Bears, 5-3.
The game was almost over before it began, as Everblades starting net minder Trevor Cann gave up three goals on just 11 shots within the first 15 minutes of the contest. Cann would be pulled in favor of Connor Knapp, but the change did little to improve the overall play for Florida.
Down 3-0 to start the second period, the Ever-blades hit the ice with renewed vigor and after getting their second power play opportunity of the night just 2:02 into the frame. Trevor Bruess would mark his 9th goal of the year to get within two of the Solar Bears.
The next 10 minutes would be even between the division rivals until Orlando would retake its three-goal lead with just over 5 minutes to play in the frame. The unassisted score on Knapp would take much of the wind from the sails of the Everblades heading into the final period of play.
The third period would see Florida get handed an early power play chance just 1:15 into the period. The opportunity would light some fire back under the home team's skates, but the 'Blades would come away empty.
They would get another extra man advantage some 4 minutes later and this one they wouldn't squander. With only 20 seconds left in the advantage, a Danick Gauthier shot from the blue line was tipped in by Mike Merrifield, giving Florida some hope with over 11 minutes to play in the meeting.
Florida would get within a goal with 3:57 to play after keeping the pressure on the Solar Bears following yet another play. This time, it was Brandon MacLean's 11th tally of the year that would give the 'Blades the hope they needed to at least scrape a point within the tight south division, but an empty net goal after Knapp (14 saves) was pulled in the final minute of play to give the Everblades the advantage would dash any hopes.
A frustrated Coach Greg Poss had much to say after what he saw as an overall poor effort by his team.
"When you get (expletive) kicked in the first period and then you come out in the 2nd We've been doing this now for a couple of games (getting behind early). I don't know if it's arrogance, or but like I said, anyone can play once you get down 3-0."
The Everblades (24-16-1-2) stay in town for a pair of weekend matches against another division rival, the Gwinnett Gladiators.