TONIGHT: The Solar Bears (28-25-5-1) visit the Atlanta Gladiators (27-30-1-2) to begin a three-game road trip. After dropping the first four meetings of the season to Atlanta, Orlando has won the previous two games, outscoring the Gladiators by a 10-3 margin.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Orlando sits in third place in the South Division, with a five-point cushion on fourth-place Atlanta and with one game in hand. The magic number for the Solar Bears to secure a berth in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs currently sits at 18 points. All other South Division clubs are idle today.
POWER PLAY CLICKING AGAINST ATLANTA: Orlando has benefited this season from a strong power play against the Gladiators, going 7-for-30 (23.33%).
JARDINE RAMPING UP PLAY: Over the past two weeks, defenseman Sam Jardine has been enjoying some of his best production of the season. The third-year blueliner leads Orlando with four assists and five points over that span, and has posted a team-best plus-minus of +4.
HEETER CLIMBING GAMES PLAYED LADDER: Goalie Cal Heeter’s next appearance for the Solar Bears will be his 36th game of the season, tying Rob Madore and Ryan Massa’s 2015-16 seasons for the second-most games played by a Solar Bears goalie in a single season, behind only Massa’s 41 played during the 2016-17 campaign.
GLADIATORS MISSING THREE KEY COMPONENTS: Atlanta will have a slightly depleted lineup tonight, as forward Lindsay Sparks, defenseman Taylor Doherty and goaltender Dan Vladar have all been recalled to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. Sparks leads the Gladiators in scoring with 53 points, while Vladar has helped keep Atlanta in the playoff hunt with 14 victories.
- Sam Jardine – 3-game point streak (1g-3a)
- Kristian Pospisil – 3-game point streak (1g-2a)
- Joshua Winquist – 1 assist from 100 career pro assists
- Hunter Fejes – 3 assists from 50 career pro assist
- Joe Perry – 4 goals from 50 with Solar Bears
- Mike Monfredo – 3 games played from 400 in career
AFFILIATE NOTES: The Toronto Marlies (40-16-1-1) picked up a 4-1 win over Belleville on Sunday and battle the Providence Bruins on Saturday. The Toronto Maple Leafs (39-22-6-1) dropped a 5-3 decision to Buffalo on Monday and return to action Saturday at home against Pittsburgh.
NEXT GAME: The Solar Bears continue their road trip on Saturday, March 10, when they battle the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at 7 p.m. from Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Orlando returns home to face the Florida Everblades on Thursday, March 15 in a Wawa Sunshine Cup Series game. 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.
Fiesta 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 our Noche Latina game, presented by Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson on Friday, March 23 against the South Carolina Stingrays! 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.