Gacek scores four points, game-winner for Orlando
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alex Gacek enjoyed a four-point night and scored the eventual game-winner as the Orlando Solar Bears (20-13-4-2) set a new season-high in goals scored with a 9-6 victory over the Alaska Aces (20-11-1-4) on Saturday night at Sullivan Arena to take their regular season series two games to one.
Click here for the box score.
Ben Danford gave the Solar Bears the 1-0 lead at 4:19 of the first period when he recovered a rolling puck along the boards on a failed Aces clearing attempt and wristed a shot past the blocker of Kevin Carr.
Nikolas Brouillard then made it 2-0 when he received a pass from Denver Manderson in the slot and snapped a shot above Carr’s glove at 18:25 for a power-play goal.
The Aces quickly responded when Peter Sivak one-timed a pass from Stephen Perfetto past Kasimir Kaskisuo at 19:04.
Sivak evened the score with a power-play goal in the second period when he made his way towards the slot and snapped a shot past Kaskisuo at 5:55.
Joe Perry gave his team a 3-2 lead when Brenden Miller blasted a Gacek feed towards the Alaska cage, and the puck glanced off Perry’s chest and into the back of the net at 9:58 for the forward’s 20th goal of the season.
Sivak responded when he corralled a Daniel Moynihan rebound and slid the puck underneath Kaskiso while pirouetting through the slot at 13:44 for the hat trick.
Not to be outdone, Perry redirected an Eric Faille past Carr at 16:46 to restore the lead for Orlando.
That set the stage for a wild third period, as Austin Block jammed home Orlando’s season-high third power-play goal at 3:24, and followed that up by finishing a tic-tac-toe play with Gacek and Chase Witala at 5:53, prompting the Aces to lift Carr in favor of Michael Garteig.
The goalie change appeared to spark the rest of the Alaska lineup as Justin Breton backhanded a loose puck over the shoulder of Kaskisuo at 6:21.
Gacek netted the game-winning tally at 7:30 when he slammed a pass from Chris Crane past Garteig, and Eric Faille gave Orlando its widest lead of the night by making it 8-4 when Steven Tarasuk turned the puck over at the right circle and Faille buried the easy chance at 9:26.
The Aces attempted to rally as Tommy Olczyk elevated a shot over Kaskisuo and into the net at the left circle at 16:28, and Ryan Trenz pulled the home team back to within two goals with Garteig pulled for an extra skater at 18:26.
Darik Angeli foiled any hopes Alaska may have had for a rally, as he finished off the scoring with an empty-net goal at 19:36.
Kaskisuo earned the win with 30 saves on 36 shots against; Garteig took the loss with five stops on seven shots against in 13:02 of mop-up duty.
The Solar Bears return to Florida to complete their seven-game road trip when they battle the Florida Everblades in a Wawa Sunshine Cup Series game on Friday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Germain Arena.
Three Stars:1) Alex Gacek – ORL2) Peter Sivak – AK3) Austin Block – ORL
NEXT HOME GAMES:
- Military Appreciation Night & Patriotic Jersey – Solar Bears vs. Florida Everblades - Saturday, Jan. 21 - 7 p.m.
- Solar Bears vs. Allen Americans - Thursday, Jan. 26 - 7 p.m. – First-ever meeting between Orlando and the defending back-to-back Kelly Cup champions
- Solar Bears vs. Allen Americans - Sunday, Jan. 29 - 1:30 p.m. – UCF vs. UF game following Solar Bears game
The Solar Bears mobile app, presented by BB&T, gives Solar Bears fans everything they need right in their pocket. The app is also home to the brand-new Loyalty & Rewards Program, which provides Solar Bears fans with opportunities to accumulate points and redeem them for exclusive prizes. The app is FREE and available for both iOS and Android devices.
The Orlando Solar Bears are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL’s Toronto Marlies, and play all of their home games at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.
Follow the Solar Bears at www.OrlandoSolarBearsHockey.com, Facebook, and Twitter (@OrlandoHockey) for all the latest news and updates. Stay in touch with Shades on Instagram by following SolarBearsHockey.
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Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased online at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.