ORLANDO, Fla. – Jean Dupuy scored the lone goal for the home team as the Orlando Solar Bears (4-3) dropped a 5-1 decision to the Florida Everblades (7-0) to fall into a 3-0 series deficit in the South Division Finals on Thursday night at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.
Click here for the box score.
The Solar Bears fell into a 1-0 hole in the first period after John McCarron powered his way to the Orlando net on a delayed penalty and buried a backhand shot past Cal Heeter at 3:21.
The Everblades struck again at the 8:46 mark when Michael Kirkpatrick teamed up with Mitchell Heard on a give-and-go play that resulted in Kirkpatrick tapping a shot past Heeter, prompting the Solar Bears to make a change in net, replacing Heeter with Mackenzie Skapski.
The change in goaltenders initially appeared to spark the Solar Bears, as the team controlled play for much of the remaining half of the first period. Orlando got on the board early in the second period when Dupuy tallied his second of the playoffs after he made his way to the top of the left circle and fired a wrist shot that beat Martin Ouellette at the 1:44 mark.
Florida, however, responded with a three-goal run to give the visitors a 5-1 lead as Kirkpatrick netted a power-play goal at the seven-minute mark, and Gus Young buried another goal on the man advantage past Skapski at 13:57. Brett Bulmer capped the scoring in the second period with an elevated shot that beat a sprawled Skapski at 15:30.
Heeter took the loss with five saves on seven shots against in 8:46 of action, while Skapski stopped 20 of 23 shots in 51:07 of relief; Ouellette earned the win with 28 stops on 29 shots against.
- The Solar Bears will hope to avoid elimination on Friday, May 4, when the team hosts Game 4 of the South Division Finals at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center at 7 p.m.
- The Solar Bears hold a lifetime 2-3 record in the Kelly Cup Playoffs when facing elimination.
- Joe Perry led the Solar Bears with eight shots on goal, breaking the previous club playoff record of seven that he shared with Mason Marchment, Hunter Fejes and Wade MacLeod.
THREE STARS1) Michael Kirkpatrick – FLA2) Martin Ouellette – FLA3) Gus Young – FLA
PLAYOFF TICKETS: The Solar Bears are battling the Florida Everblades in the South Division Finals of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, presented by Coors Light, and will host the following games at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center:
- Game 4 – Friday, May 4 at 7 p.m.
- Game 5 – Sunday, May 6 at 1:30 p.m. (if necessary)
Tickets for the second round of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs are on sale now – fans can purchase tickets starting at $18 through the Amway Center box office or by visiting ticketmaster.com.
About the Orlando Solar Bears:
The Orlando Solar Bears are in their sixth season of operation in the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America, and are the proud affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.
Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.