Ryan Cruthers scored twice, while Matt Sisca finished with four assists to help pace the Orlando Solar Bears to an 8-2 victory Friday night over the Florida Everblades at Germain Arena.
The win is the first in franchise history for the Solar Bears. The loss snaps a 15-game home winning streak for the Blades dating back to last season (including playoffs).
Florida's usual quick-start offense was completely held in check, and for the first time this season the Bears got on the board first. Ryan Ginand received a pass directly in front of the net, where he took three attempts to finally get the puck in the goal past Blades goaltender John Muse.
The goal opened the floodgates for the Bears on goals by C.J. Severyn, Josh Caron and Olivier Fortier, opening a 4-0 lead at the first break.
Orlando continued to shine adding on four more in the second.
The Blades finally found their rhythm in the third, and got a quick goal. Their second goal came halfway through the period when a shot by David Rutherford was redirected by Leigh Salters into the net.
The two teams meet again Saturday night in Orlando.
Prior to the game, the No. 9 jersey of Ernie Hartlieb was retired. No player has worn the Everblades jersey more than Hartlieb, who appeared in a franchise high 350 games.
Blades Edge: Two home game dates have been changed to accommodate other events booking Germain Arena.
The home game with the Greenville Road Warriors on Friday, Jan. 25, has been moved to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27. The game with the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday, March 15, has been moved to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 17.
Tickets purchased for either game will be valid on the new dates.