ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Orlando Solar Bears entered Game 4 of their opening round ECHL playoff series game against the Florida Everblades attempting to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their best of 7 series at Amway Center Saturday night. Thanks to a big crowd of 8,243 and the effort of goalkeeper Ryan Massa, who saved all 42 shots that he faced, the Solar Bears won by a score of 3-0. The Bears have a chance to win their first-ever ECHL series in franchise history on Sunday as they play Game 5 at Amway Center at 4pm.
Justin Buzzeo got the opening goal when he beat Florida goalkeeper Anthony Peters to give the Solar Bears a 1-0 lead. Buzzeo got some open space and was able to put the puck over the keeper’s left shoulder to give him his second goal of the series seven minutes into the period. Even with the goal, Florida outshot Orlando 14-7 mainly because the Solar Bears committed three penalties, causing them to be shorthanded three times in the period.
Orlando couldn’t score with on a 5-on-3 power play in the second period. The Bears were more active as they continued to put pressure on Peters all throughout the 20 minute period. They both got 11 shots and the Everblades were up 25-18 after the second period.
In the game’s final period, Derik Angeli redirected a Shane Conacher shot from the side of the Everblades net to give the Bears a 2-0 lead with 12:48 seconds left in the 3rd period.
Forward Chris Crane led the Bears as he assisted on both goals and helped lead the team to overcome being outshot 42-34, but the big story was Massa’s play. He shut down every single chance Florida had to get on the scoreboard, then he helped lead the Solar Bears in a brawl that had himself and nine other players given game misconduct penalties in the game’s final minute.
The last minute of the game provided a preview of tomorrow’s Game 5. All of the members of both teams got into a fight that had 11 players receive game misconduct penalties and ejections. As of the writing of this article, the ECHL League office has not made a decision about possible suspensions when it comes to the players involved.
3 STARS OF THE GAME:
- Ryan Massa – Orlando
- Justin Buzzeo – Orlando
- Chris Crane – Orlando
- 1st Period: Justin Buzzeo (2nd of the playoffs) | Assists: Daniel Maggio and Chris Crane – 7:28
- 3rd Period: Derik Angeli (1st of the playoffs) | Assists: Shane Conacher and Chris Crane (2) – 7:18
- 3rd Period: Taylor Doherty (3rd of the playoffs) | No assists; empty net goal
- Crane: 2 min. – slashing – 9:20
- Doughtery: 2 min. – high sticking -14:48
- Manderson: 2 min. – tripping – 16:24
- Moore: 2 min. – unsportsmanlike conduct – 0:07
- Perry: 2 min. – charging – 17:38
- Baier: 2 min. – roughing, 5 min. – fighting major and 10 min. – game misconduct – 19:14
- Bubela: 5 min. – fighting major and 10 min – game misconduct – 19:14
- Buzzeo: 5 min. – fighting major and 10 min – game misconduct – 19:14
- Marchment: 5 min. – fighting major – 19:14
- Massa: 5 min. – fighting major and 10 min. – game misconduct – 19:14
- Moore: 10 min. – misconduct – 19:14
- Heard: 2 min. – unsportsmanlike conduct – 0:07
- Kamarass: 2 min. – holding – 8:50
- Analeoski: 2 min. – holding – 10:17
- Harris: 2 min. – high sticking – 11:11
- Baker: 5 min. – fighting major and 10 min. – game misconduct – 19:14
- Heard: 5 min. – fighting major, 2 min. – instigating, 10 min. – game misconduct and 10 min. – throwing equipment – 19:14
- McCarron: 5 min. – fighting major and 10 min. – game misconduct – 19:14
- Nedelijkovic: 5 min. – fighting major and 10 min. – game misconduct – 19:14
- Raine: 5 min. – fighting major and 10 min. – game misconduct – 19:14
Danny Thompson is a contributing sports writer for Florida National News. firstname.lastname@example.org