ESTERO, Fla. - Connor Goggin, F Taylor Matson, and D Blake Kessel all scored in four minutes and 17 seconds as the Solar Bears collected a 5-3 win over the Florida Everblades at the Germain Arena on Tuesday night.
Orlando jumped out to an early lead, thanks to three goals scored in the opening frame. Shortly after the Solar Bears killed off a 5-on-3 power play, they earned a man-advantage chance of their own. Kessel took a pass at the blue line and moved the puck to Goggin who blasted a slap shot from the top of the left circle to give the Solar Bears a 1-0 lead at 10:37. A little over two minutes later, F Taylor Matson powered to the front of the net and with a delayed penalty upcoming to Florida, he lifted a backhand shot into the top left corner as Orlando grabbed a 2-0 lead. Kessel then struck for a goal of his own when he took a pass from F Andrew Johnston at the right point and ripped a slapper past G Trevor Cann at 14:54. G Connor Knapp entered the game for Florida following the goal, and Orlando led 3-0 at the end of the first 20 minute period.
An early period power play helped Florida get on the board to start the second. A pass from F Kyle Bonis was knocked down in front of the net, but F Trevor Bruess was waiting and slammed it into the net at 4:01 to cut the Orlando lead to 3-1. F Jake Hauswirth answered for the Solar Bears with 5:13 left in the period when he took a puck through the neutral zone and blistered a slap shot inside the left post, giving Orlando a 4-1 lead heading into the third.
Florida closed the lead in the final frame, starting with a power play goal at 8:35. F Danick Gauthier one-timed a shot from the slot and F Mike Merrifield deflected it past G Cody Reichard to make the score 4-2. With 3:57 left to play, Orlando turned the puck over in the defensive end and F Brandon MacLean slipped past Reichard and tucked the puck inside the left post to bring the Everblades to within one. F Scott Tanski iced the contest for the Solar Bears, however, when he stole the puck in the neutral zone and flipped into the empty net with 33.8 seconds to go in the game. G Cody Reichard stopped 34 shots in the contest to earn the 5-3 win for Orlando.
Three Stars: 1. C. Goggin (ORL); 2. J. Hauswirth (ORL); 3. B. MacLean (FLA)
Power Plays: ORL: 1/4; FLA: 2/7
Shots: ORL: 27; FLA: 37
Forward C.J. Severyn served his one game ECHL suspension tonight. He is eligible to return on Thursday at the Amway Center... The Solar Bears face the Everblades just one more time this season (March 4). They are 7-6-0-0 against Florida this season... F Jake Hauswirth scored his first goal as a Solar Bear in the second period. It stood as the game-winner... G Cody Reichard earned his first win as a Solar Bear tonight... The Solar Bears improved to 5-2-0-0 when scoring first on the road.