ORLANDO, FL – Brendan O’Donnell scored twice while Anthony Peters stopped 32 of the 33 shots faced to help lead the Florida Everblades to a 5-1 win over the Orlando Solar Bears in Game 5 of the South Division Semifinals Sunday evening at the Amway Center. With the win, the Everblades now trail Orlando three games to two in the playoff series.
Both teams battled extremely hard in the opening period as the Everblades and Solar Bears had their moments. However, both sides were continuously denied by Florida goaltender Anthony Peters and Orlando netminder Mitch Gillam.
In the second period, the Everblades finally found the breakthrough they were looking for as they took a 1-0 lead off a second chance opportunity midway through the middle frame. An initial shot from Levko Koper was stopped by Gillam. Michael Kirkpatrick picked up the rebound and wasted no time roofing his chance high into the net.
The ‘Blades doubled their lead to 2-0 at 1:01 of the third off a wicked slap shot from Mike Marcou. Racing their way into the attacking zone on an outlet pass from Anthony Peters, Michael Kirkpatrick dropped the puck back for Marcou. From the top of the right wing circle, Marcou ripped a slap shot past Gillam’s glove and into the net.
Just 29 seconds later, the Everblades took a 3-0 when O’Donnell converted a point-blank chance to clinch the contest for Florida. Marcou sent a deflected puck off the back boards which then bounced to the stick of John McCarron. Whipping the puck towards the front of goal, McCarron got the puck to O’Donnell who wasted no time blasting his chance into the back of the net.
Despite the quick strike assault by the ‘Blades, Orlando refused to go away. Cutting the Everblades lead to just two goals midway through the third period, Orlando scored their first goal of the game off a tipped shot out in front of the Florida goal. From the blue line, Ty Stanton whipped the puck in towards the front of goal where it tipped off the stick of Justin Buzzeo and headed past Peters.
The Everblades bounced right back and took a 4-1 lead off a nice team effort in the attacking zone. Zack Kamrass fired a shot off the body of Gilliam which bounced back out to McCarron’s stick. McCarron quickly sent the puck to the crease area where Brendan O’Donnell sent home his second goal of the game.
Moments later, Dalton Smith took advantage of a right place, right time play to give the ‘Blades a 5-1 lead midway through the final period. Collecting the puck behind the back of Orlando’s net, Stephen MacAulay sent a wraparound attempt off the skate of Smith and past a sliding Gilliam for the goal.
Anthony Peters was fantastic in goal for the Everblades, earning the win after stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced. Gillam played well for most of the game but suffers the loss in goal for Orlando after allowing five goals on 42 shots.
Following the result, the series now turns back to Germain Arena for Game 6 which will be played this Tuesday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.
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