TONIGHT: The Solar Bears (13-16-4-1) begin a three-in-three set against the Jacksonville Icemen (9-16-3-2) tonight, with the first of two games at Veterans Memorial Arena. The Solar Bears own a 3-1-1-0 record against the Icemen this season. Orlando will look to leap back into playoff positioning tonight, provided the team gets a win and Atlanta loses in its home match against Greenville.
VALLEAU FRESH OFF RETURN AND ECHL ALL-STAR GAME SELECTION: Following his return to the lineup on Wednesday against Florida, Nolan Valleau was announced yesterday as Orlando’s representative to the 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic. Despite missing the Dec. 27 overtime win over Jacksonville, the third-year defenseman is tied for second on the team with three assists against the Icemen this season, and will be expected to quarterback a Solar Bears power play unit that has converted on 12% of its chances against Jacksonville this season.
GUDBRANSON MATCHING UP WELL AGAINST JACKSONVILLE: Although he missed much of the first half of the season due to injury, defenseman Alex Gudbranson has been highly effective for Orlando in his two games played against the Icemen – the fourth-year defender notched an assist for the Solar Bears and was on the ice for J.J. Piccinich’s OT-winner on Opening Night in October, and tallied the game-winning goal for Orlando on Dec. 27.
CRANE EXPECTED TO MAKE RETURN: Chris Crane is expected to make his return to the lineup tonight after sitting out the previous 23 games. The forward was among the leading scorers for the Solar Bears with 10 points (5g-5a) through 11 games after sustaining an injury on Nov. 16 at Atlanta.
- Chris Crane – 4 points from 150 career pro points (69g-77a)
- Sam Jardine – 1 game from 150 career pro games
AFFILIATE NOTES: The Toronto Marlies (24-11-0-0) defeated the Laval Rocket 5-2 on Wednesday and enter tonight’s game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms occupying the top spot in the AHL’s North Division. The Toronto Maple Leafs (24-16-2-0) picked up a 3-2 shootout win over San Jose last night and face the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow evening.
NEXT GAME: The Solar Bears square off against Jacksonville again on Saturday, Jan. 76 at 7:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Arena. Orlando is back at home on Sunday, Jan. 7 when they host the Icemen at 1:30 p.m. Single-game tickets for the 2017-18 season are now on sale at the Amway Center box office and ticketmaster.com.
About the Orlando Solar Bears:
The Orlando Solar Bears are in their sixth season of operation in the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America, and are the proud affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.
Fighting Four Packs, presented by CenturyLink, are now available for purchase! Pick four games and get gift certificates to Sonny’s BBQ, Dick’s Sporting Goods, QDOBA Mexican Eats and a FREE center ice ticket to the our Hockey Fights Cancer Night game, presented by XYMOPRINT on Saturday, Feb. 17! Packs start as low as $64 and include $68 in FREE gifts! Click here or call (407) 951-8200 for more information.
Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased online at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.