Franchise-record crowd goes home happy as Tropics defeat Syracuse

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – A Tropics franchise-record crowd went home happy Saturday night as Florida defeated eastern division rival Syracuse, 3-2, behind a fourth-quarter goal by Jowayne Laidley and a strong performance from netminder Piotr Sliwa.

It was the second time in as many meetings between the two teams that Laidley knocked inthe game winner, much to the delight of the 4,088 fans at the Lakeland Center. The two teams will conclude their weekend doubleheader Sunday again at the Lakeland Center with kickoff set for 5:35 p.m.

With the win, Florida (7-9) moves into third place in the division, a half game back of idle Harrisburg (7-8). Syracuse falls into fourth, at least temporarily, at 6-9. After tomorrow's home finale of the regular season schedule, the Tropics will wrap up the season Feb. 24-26 with two games in Harrisburg and the finale in Syracuse.

The Silver Knights slammed 39 shots at Sliwa, who was credited with 17 saves, and posted a season-best .895 save percentage. The Florida defense had 20 blocks.

The Tropics got first half goals from Victor Parreiras and Freddy Moojen – the 11th of the season for each – to take a 2-0 lead at intermission. Syracuse tied it with goals in the third quarter from Slavisa Ubiparipovic and Antonio Manfut before Laidley's heroics with just under five minutes to play