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Game Preview: Solar Bears vs. Everblades - Oct. 22, 2016

Saturday, October 22nd
Game Preview: Solar Bears vs. Everblades - Oct. 22, 2016

Solar Bears Game 1 • Home Game 1 • ECHL Game 48

WHO: Orlando Solar Bears (0-0-0-0) vs. Florida Everblades (2-0-0-0)VENUE: ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, Orlando, Fla.DATE: Saturday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m.WATCH: ECHL.TVLISTEN: OSBN on MixlrTICKETS: CLICK HERE

ORLANDO UNITED: Tonight's game is Orlando United Night, presented by Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson, P.A. The Solar Bears jerseys worn in tonight's game against the Florida Everblades feature a design highlighting elements of the Solar Bears primary logo combined with the Orlando United Heart. The Solar Bears will host an auction for the jerseys to help raise funds for the Central Florida Foundation’s Better Together Fund. Furthermore, 30 percent of the proceeds from each Opening Night ticket purchased through orlandosolarbearshockey.com/united will also be donated to the Better Together Fund.

TONIGHT:The Orlando Solar Bears open their fifth season of ECHL hockey tonight in a Wawa Sunshine Cup battle with their in-state rivals, the Florida Everblades. Orlando is looking to earn their first victory since the introduction of the Sunshine Cup after going 4-10-0-0 against Florida last year.

NEW DIVISION, NEW RULES:The Solar Bears and Everblades remain division rivals in the South Division, along with usual suspects Atlanta, Greenville and South Carolina. However, the South Division now includes the Norfolk Admirals and Cincinnati Cyclones. This year the top four teams in each division qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Curiously, neither the Solar Bears nor Everblades play Cincinnati during the regular season, while Orlando only plays Norfolk twice at home in February.

SOLAR POWER:Orlando has several players who provided valuable contributions in 2015-16 returning for another season:

  • Eric Faille – Led Solar Bears with 60 points (first ECHL Solar Bear to reach 60-point plateau)
  • Eric Baier – The captain enjoyed a career year offensively and become the franchise’s games played leader, finishing the season with 176 games played in the purple and teal
  • T.J. Foster – Led Orlando with 25 goals as a rookie; one of six rookies in ECHL to lead their teams
  • Ryan Massa – Recorded the best save percentage (.915) by a Solar Bears rookie goalie
  • Johnny McInnis – The winger showcased his durability as the only Solar Bears player to play in all 72 games
  • Patrick Watling – Only active Solar Bears player to play multiple seasons while maintaining an offensive production greater than a point-per-game

SUPER SOPHOMORES:In addition to Orlando’s 2015-16 rookie scoring leader T.J. Foster returning to the Solar Bears for a second go-around in the City Beautiful, Orlando has also added a member of last year’s All-ECHL Rookie Team, Cason Hohmann, who is on loan from the Toronto Marlies. Meanwhile, Florida compensated for the offseason loss of leading rookie scorer Matt Willows by inking 29-goal scorer Michael Kirkpatrick, who finished runner-up to Willows in the race for the rookie scoring title.

CREASE COMPETITION:The Solar Bears are expected to rely on the goaltending tandem of Ryan Massa and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Kasimir Kaskisuo. Both goaltenders went the college route before turning pro: Massa with the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Kaskisuo with the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Last season’s pairing of Massa and Rob Madore saw more rubber (35.21 shots against per game) than all but one other ECHL club.

HEAD TO HEADOverall : 0-0-0-0Home : 0-0-0-0Road : 0-0-0-02015-16 Overall : 4-10-0-02015-16 Home : 2-6-0-02015-16 Away : 2-4-0-0Last Five Years : 24-32-2-1Last Five Years Home : 11-16-1-0Last Five Years Away : 13-16-1-1

2015-16 LEADERSPoints: Faille - 60Goals: Foster - 25Assists: Vail* - 36+/-: Faille - +14PIM: Louis* - 175SOG: McInnis - 197* Denotes no longer with Orlando

BEAR TRACKER

  • Baier & Findlay: Need five goals to pass Mickey Lang (32) for fourth in team history
  • Manderson: Needs two points to pass Mike Ullrich (67) for fifth in team history
  • Massa: Next win will be 20th of pro career
  • McInnis: Next game ties Jacob Cepis (107) for fifth most games played in team history
  • Montgomery: Next game is 150th pro game

AFFILIATE NOTES: The Toronto Marlies suffered their first loss of the season last night in a 5-2 defeat at Rochester, and host the Manitoba Moose today at 5 p.m. at Ricoh Coliseum. The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 p.m. at the United Center.

NEXT GAME:Solar Bears host South Carolina Stingrays on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets.

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Wednesday, March 6th
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
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7:00 PM EST
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Florida Everblades @ Orlando Solar Bears
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