ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears have put themselves in a very tough spot — down 0-3 in the South Division Finals series against the Florida Everblades. As this series has progressed, the Solar Bears have been at a greater and greater disadvantage.
While the strategy of playing a defensive and low scoring game worked in the opening playoff series against the South Carolina Stingrays, it has not worked against a team like the Everblades. The Everblades are a very skilled team who quickly take advantage of sloppy plays and costly penalties. And they have the offensive firepower to make those mistakes hurt where it counts — on the scoreboard.
At this point in the series, the only thing the Solar Bears can do is win, but if they want to come back in the series, it is essential that they take it one game at a time.
When asked about what he believes the team should do to get back in the series, head coach Drake Berehowsky commented,
“I don’t think we’re connected as we need to be, you know. It’s either our F1 line’s getting in there, we’re forechecking real hard, and we’re separating, and our F2’s coming in and trying to be physical when they should be trying to get the puck. Or our F1’s getting in there and our F2’s not supporting them enough. I think we’re disconnected a lot. And we’ve shown them video of it. I think we just gotta do a better job of going out and executing.”
Asked what the team needs to do to keep its competitive spirit, captain Sean Zimmerman said,
“Look ourselves in the mirror…and figure out what each guy has to do. Not worrying about what my teammates doing or what the coaches are doing. Worry about yourself and figure it out on your own — worry about yourself and your job.”
Last night’s game was not close. Florida put Orlando down two goals early. Jean Dupuy gave the Solar Bears some hope with a strike early in the second frame, but the Everblades machine continued to power forward. By the end of the onslaught, Orlando once again had only a single goal to its credit, while the Everblades had tallied a total of five.
The teams face off again tonight at 7 p.m. EST for game four at the Amway Center. The Solar Bears will look to recover from its disappointing outing yesterday. Both Berehowsky and Zimmerman stressed that the main goal will be for Orlando to get out on the ice and to compete. At this stage, the Solar Bears are playing for pride, and they will look to draw some energy from what promises to be a large crowd tonight on its home ice.