Bubela, Gacek enjoy four-point games
DULUTH, Ga. – The Orlando Solar Bears (24-15-5-2) survived a wild game that saw several lead changes, and emerged with their third consecutive win and fifth straight game with a point following an 8-5 victory over the Atlanta Gladiators (17-22-6-1) on Tuesday night at Infinite Energy Arena.
Click here for the box score.
Alexandre Carrier opened the scoring with his first goal in a Solar Bears uniform at the 4:07 mark of the first period when his shot from the left corner caromed off of Rory Rawlyk’s skate and past Matt Ginn.
Tyler Murovich responded for Atlanta when he teamed up for a give-and-go with A.J. White before firing a shot past the blocker of Kasimir Kaskisuo at 5:17.
Orlando got another early goal to begin the second period when Milos Bubela fed Joe Perry on the breakout and Perry skated down the left side before snapping the puck past Ginn 47 seconds into the frame.
The Gladiators made it 2-2 on the power play when a Solar Bears line change resulted in a 4-on-1 situation that resulted in Trevor Mingoia slamming home a saucer pass from Justin Buzzeo at 11:29, and the hosts then took a 3-2 lead when Murovich jammed home a rebound past Kaskiso at 12:22.
Alex Gacek knotted the game up just 24 seconds later when he flipped a pass towards the goalmouth on a 3-on-2 rush, and the puck deflected off the pads of Matt Ginn and Chase Witala’s stick before Gacek settled the rebound and backhanded it into the net.
The Solar Bears took a 4-3 lead when Gacek intercepted an Atlanta pass in the defensive zone and sped through the neutral zone before feeding Witala, who then wristed a shot past Ginn at 13:13.
Witala tallied again at 4:36 of the third period when he brought the puck around from behind the net and banked the puck in at the right post.
The Gladiators battled back again as Buzzeo smacked in a rebound after Eric Neiley redirected a Josh Atkinson point shot for a power-play goal at 6:12, and Thomas Frazee tied the score at 5-5 after he swatted at an Akim Aliu attempt 7:40.
An interference call to Murovich at 13:32 sent Orlando to its fourth opportunity with the man advantage, and the Solar Bears converted with two seconds remaining when Bubela broke in alone on Ginn only to see his shot paddled away, but Ginn failed to control the rebound, allowing Shane Conacher to fire the eventual game-winning goal into the net at 15:30 for the rookie’s first tally of the season.
Gacek and Angeli then tacked on empty-net goals at 19:02 and 19:38 respectively to close out the game for the Solar Bears.
Kaskisuo made 29 saves on 32 shots against to earn the win; Ginn took the loss with 26 stops on 32 shots against.
With the win, Orlando improved to 55 points on the season and gained a four-point lead on the South Carolina Stingrays and Greenville Swamp Rabbits for second place in the South Division; South Carolina fell to the Adirondack Thunder by a 3-2 score on Tuesday.
Three Stars:1) Milos Bubela – ORL2) Chase Witala – ORL3) Alex Gacek – ORL
NEXT HOME GAMES:
- Solar Bears vs. Norfolk Admirals – Thursday, Feb. 16 – 7 p.m. – Thirsty Thursday – Fans can enjoy $5 domestic draft beers throughout the Amway Center. Fans can also take advantage of $2 Coors Light drafts before and after Thursday’s game, along with food specials at Ferg’s Depot on Church Street. Fans can purchase discounted game tickets for as low as $14 at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/fergs.
- Solar Bears vs. Norfolk Admirals – Friday, Feb. 17 – 7 p.m. – Faith & Family Weekend presented by Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson, P.A.
- Solar Bears vs. Norfolk Admirals – Sunday, Feb. 19 – 1:30 p.m. – Faith & Family Weekend presented by Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson, P.A.
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.
Season tickets, Corporate Flex vouchers, and Group tickets are a great way to entertain employees, co-workers, clients, friends and family. For more information on all of the Solar Bears ticket packages, call (407) 951-8200 or visit orlandosolarbearshockey.com/groups.
Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased online at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.