Preseason game 2 Saturday night at Germain Arena showed more of what the Florida Everblades could look like this season as the Blades lost to the Orlando Solar Bears 4-3.
As on Friday night, the Everblades defensive breakdowns, and poor early penalty kills, allowed the Solar Bears to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Florida got "their legs" early in the second period after John Henrion made it a one-goal game 6:06 into the period.
After Cornell's shot from the blue line rebounded off Orlando goalie Chris Gibson, Henrion took a pass from newcomer Mike Little and Florida's offense started to roll.
Keeping the pressure on over the next six minutes, Blades D-man Dan Milan tied the game with less than eight to play in the period. Orlando won the ensuing faceoff, however, and scored just 20 seconds later to retake the lead.
Thirty seconds into the third period, Florida got an opportunity to tie the game on a power play. A cross checking penalty eight seconds in nullified the chance, and the Solar Bears capitalized after the teams returned to full strength, beating Florida net minder Jesse Deckert (18 saves) for the fourth time to retake a two-goal lead.
The Blades wouldn't rest on their heels and came crashing back, eventually getting back within a goal when forward Kyle Bonis scored on a one-timer from the far side of the net.
The Blades got several more chances throughout the period, including a pair of power play chances, and pulling Deckert in the final minute to gain an extra advantage. Despite the opportunities that gave the Blades nearly a 2-to-1 margin in shots they came up empty for the second time in as many nights.
"We have some issues, like all teams this time of year," said Blades coach Greg Poss. "I didn't think we played real well the first 15 minutes, but we played better as the night went on. I think our biggest issue right now is team chemistry, but we have a good core group of returning players and I expect that to improve as we move into the regular season."
The Blades start the regular season next Friday when the Solar Bears return to Germain Arena for another two-game series.