ESTERO — Power play difficulties in the second period helped lead the Florida Everblades to a 2-1 overtime loss to the Orlando Solar Bears Saturday night.
Goalie Rob Madore had 25 saves in his Florida debut, though it was not his first time wearing the jersey with the alligator logo. He played in a preseason game in October. But when the Everblades brought back John Muse, Madore was cut from the roster and loaned to the appropriately named Evansville Icemen.
"It's always nice to be in 65-degree weather instead of a snowstorm, which is what they're getting," Madore said. A rookie who was a standout at the University of Vermont, Madore was 4-8 with a 3.43 goals against average in 13 games at Evansville.
Pat Nagle, a goalie who played a significant role in Florida's Kelly Cup run last season, was called up to the Everblades' AHL affiliate in Syracuse Friday, opening the roster spot for Madore. Nagle was 5-5-0-1 with a 3.47 goals against average for Florida this season.
Orlando center Ryan Cruthers scored the game-winning goal at the 3:37 mark of overtime with a low shot from the blue line.
Late in the first period, Ryan O'Byrne fired a quick shot on the net. The puck rebounded off Orlando goalie John Curry and bounced around before David Rutherford flipped it up and scored. Rutherford quickly skated over to give O'Byrne a big hug for the assist.
"I just found a loose puck and put it in the empty net," Rutherford said.
After the Everblades (14-10-2-4) outshot the Solar Bears (12-15-2-2) 11-6 in the first period, the momentum shifted Orlando's way in the second. The Solar Bears' penalty kill unit started forechecking in the neutral zone, frustrating the Florida power play. The unit, normally a spark for the team, converted none of its six opportunities.
"I think on our power play, we gave up too many scoring chances through two-on-ones," Florida coach Greg Poss said. "We've got to be better defensively. Unfortunately, they didn't score on those opportunities, but we didn't capitalize on our power play to get that second goal to win the game."
There was added pressure on Madore, too, and he found himself down on the ice on a few occasions, though the defense bailed him out several times.
"They were great," Madore said. "There weren't a whole lot of rebounds left sitting in front. They either pushed them into me so I could smother them or took it down the ice for an icing."
One got through near the halfway mark of the second period, though. The puck slid away from Florida defender Tommi Kivisto in front of the crease, enabling Matthew Sisca to drive home a quick pass from Bryce Lampman.
SOLAR BEARS 2, EVERBLADES 1 (OT)
Orlando 0 1 0 1 — 2
Florida 1 0 0 0 — 11st Period — 1. Florida Rutherford 10 (O'Byrne, Roy) 18:09. Penalties: Wilson Orl (slashing) 10:52; Beca Fla (tripping) 14:36 Gendur Orl (slashing) 20:00; Raymond Fla. (unsportsmanlike conduct minor) 20:00.
2nd Period — 2. Orlando Sisca 8 (Lampman, Neal) 9:40. Penalties: Reaves Orl (roughing) 4:28; Liambas Orl (charging) 6:55; bench minor Orl (abusive language, served by Sisca) 11:46; Salters Fla (misconduct 10 minutes) 15:52; Sisca Orl (holding the stick) 19:29.
3rd Period — Penalties: Levens Orl (tripping) 5:51; Bogosian Fla (closing hand on puck) 12:10.
Overtime — 3. Orlando Cruthers 9 (Wilson) 3:37.
Power play opportunities — Orlando 0-2; Florida 0-6
Shots — Orlando 6-14-6-1--27 Florida 11-9-5-3--28
Goalies —Curry Orl (27 saves); Madore, Fla (25 saves)
A — 5,817