ORLANDO, Fla. - Connor Goggin scored the first two Solar Bears goals and F Jacob Cepis picked up the last two as the Solar Bears battled back for a 5-4 decision over the Evansville IceMen in front of 8,458 fans at the Amway Center on Saturday night.
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Goggin put the Solar Bears on the board just before the midway point of the first period. With the two teams skating 4-on-4, Cepis slipped a pass across the slot to Goggin, who skated towards the net and lifted a wrister into the top right corner to put the Solar Bears ahead 1-0. Evansville answered at 14:10 of the frame when F Matt Lowry's shot skipped of the pads of G Cody Reichard and LW Peter Sakaris finished off the rebound to send the game into the first intermission tied at 1-1.
Evansville took advantage of a power play to take the lead 59 seconds into the middle frame when D Thomas Larkin blasted a slap shot from the right point. The 2-1 lead lasted just 18 seconds, as off the ensuing draw, Goggin carried the puck into the attacking zone and fed a pass into the slot. The puck deflected off an IceMen defender and past G Mike Clemente to even the score at 2-2. A pair of goals in just 41 seconds helped the IceMen jump ahead 4-2. First, F Daultan Leveille picked the top left corner with a snap shot and then F Kellen Tochkin followed with rebound goal at 7:51. F Taylor Matson cut the lead to 4-3 when he took a pass from F Wade MacLeod and blasted home a one-time shot from the low slot at 12:01. Cepis then tied the game at 4-4 at 13:33 when he carried the puck through the neutral zone and ripped a slap shot into the top left corner. The teams remained tied headed into the third.
Cepis struck for his second goal, and fourth point, of the game 13:00 into the final frame. D Eric Baier and F Mickey Lang cycled the puck down the wall and Lang found Cepis open in the slot. Cepis fired a slap shot inside the left post to boost Orlando to a 5-4 advantage. Evansville made a late push to tie the contest with the netminder pulled, but G Maxime Clermont, who entered the game in the second period, stood tall to stop all eight shots he faced in the period to preserve the 5-4 victory.
Three Stars: 1. J. Cepis (ORL); 2. C. Goggin (ORL); 3. T. Matson (ORL)
Power Plays: ORL: 0/1; EVN: 2/3
Shots: ORL: 36; EVN: 29
F Jacob Cepis picked up his third 4-point game as a Solar Bear... Orlando was awarded two penalty shots in the game, as F Mickey Lang was stopped by G Mike Clemente in the first period and F Ian Slater had his attempted late in the third period stopped as well. It was the first time in club history that Orlando had been awarded two penalty shots in the same game... D Connor Goggin recorded his first two goal game as a Solar Bear tonight... The Solar Bears wore their black third jerseys for the game tonight... Orlando hosted the BE GREAT! Classic for Kids to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida prior to tonight's game... G Maxime Clermont entered the game with 12:29 left in the second period and stopped all 12 shots he faced in the game.