Bubela scores twice for Orlando in goal-filled contest
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears (28-20-6-3) rallied on three separate occasions to tie the score, but ultimately came up empty-handed on their fourth attempt at a comeback as they fell to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (32-20-4-1) by a 7-5 score on Thursday night at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.
Click here for the box score.
The Swamp Rabbits established an early lead just 68 seconds into the first period, when Michael Joly received a feed in the slot from Ahti Oksanen, and wristed a shot high glove side past Kasimir Kaskisuo.
The Solar Bears responded with a power-play goal from Milos Bubela as he directed a backhand pass from Eric Faille past Mackenzie Skapski at 6:40.
Joly buried another chance following a transition play resulting from a turnover at the Orlando blueline, as Oksanen dished a pass from the right half wall into the slot, allowing Joly to net his second of the frame at 11:46.
Oksanen netted a goal of his own as he gained the attacking blueline and swung the puck to the right circle for Trevor Gerling, who flipped the pass back to Oksanen, and the forward buried a shot past the blocker of Kaskisuo at 15:48.
Another turnover in the defensive zone for Orlando led to Nick Betz tucking the puck past Kaskisuo at 17:44 to put the hosts in a 4-1 hole to conclude the scoring for the first frame.
The Solar Bears cut their deficit back to only two goals when Bubela netted his second tally on the man advantage at 7:33 of the middle stanza, as he grabbed a rebound from Chris Bradley in the crease and fired it past Skapski at 17:51.
Brenden Miller pulled Orlando back to within one goal when he dumped the puck into the boards at the left side of the net, and the puck caromed back to the goalmouth and squeaked between the left post and Skapski’s skate before rolling over the goal line at 17:51.
The momentum from Miller’s goal appeared to energize the Solar Bears, as a sequence of sustained pressure in the attacking zone led to Bubela throwing the puck on goal from the blueline, creating the opportunity for Joe Perry to fire the rebound at the left post past a lunging Skapski at 19:41 to tie the score at 4-4.
It appeared that the Solar Bears would maintain the tie heading into the second intermission, but Joe Houk pulled the visitors ahead again when he snapped a shot that pinballed underneath Kaskisuo’s blocker at 19:57.
Faille tied the score early in the third period on a wrap-around attempt that he rolled through the legs of Skapski to make it 5-5 at 3:18, but Oksanen pulled Greenville ahead 6-5 at 8:01.
A potential game-tying goal from Austin Block at the 12:04 mark was waved off, due to the puck being ruled to have been kicked over the goal line.
A hooking penalty late in regulation to Brandon Alderson put Orlando on the power play, and the Solar Bears pulled Kaskisuo for an extra skater, but Bretton Cameron sealed Orlando’s fate with an empty-net tally at 18:33.
Kaskisuo took the loss with 26 saves on 32 shots against; Skapski picked up the win with 47 stops on 52 shots against.
Three Stars:1) Ahti Oksanen – GRN2) Michael Joly – GRN3) Milos Bubela – ORL
NEXT HOME GAMES:
- Solar Bears vs. Greenville Swamp Rabbits – Saturday, March 4 – 7 p.m. – Noche Latina presented by Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson, P.A.
- Solar Bears vs. Utah Grizzlies – Friday, March 10 – 7 p.m. – Star Wars Night
- Solar Bears vs. Utah Grizzlies – Sunday, March 12 – 1:30 p.m. – FAIRWINDS Solar Bears Sunday
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.
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