ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears return home to the City Beautiful this week to the continue the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs, presented by Coors Light, as their best-of-seven South Division Semifinals series against the Florida Everblades shifts to the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center. Orlando stunned the division leaders with two road wins last week at Germain Arena, and holds a 2-0 series lead, with Game 3 and 4 scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, respectively. This is the first time in three trips to the postseason that Orlando not only won the first game of a playoff series, but also has won the first two games of a series.
THIS WEEK:South Division Semifinals – Game 3Thursday, April 20 – 7 p.m.ARS.com Rink at Amway Center – Orlando, Fla.Orlando Solar Bears vs. Florida Everblades
South Division Semifinals – Game 4Saturday, April 22 – 7 p.m.ARS.com Rink at Amway Center – Orlando, Fla.Orlando Solar Bears vs. Florida Everblades
South Division Semifinals – Game 5 (if necessary)Sunday, April 23 – 4 p.m.ARS.com Rink at Amway Center – Orlando, Fla.Orlando Solar Bears vs. Florida Everblades
OrlandoRegular season: 36-26-7-3, 82 points – 4th place, South DivisionHead Coach: Drake BerehowksyNHL Affiliate: Toronto Maple Leafs
Florida Everblades46-21-2-3, 97 points – 1st place, South DivisionHead Coach: Brad RalphNHL Affiliate: Carolina Hurricanes
LAST WEEK: 2-0
Wednesday, April 12 – Orlando 4, Florida 2Taylor Doherty and Chris Crane tied a Solar Bears franchise record with three points apiece, and Denver Manderson gave Orlando a two-goal cushion with an empty-net goal late in regulation as Ryan Massa made 30 saves to give the visitors the win in the series-opener.
Friday, April 14 – Orlando 3, Florida 2Rookie Ryan Moore netted his first goal of the postseason early in the first, and Eric Baier scored another go-ahead goal to make it 2-1 in the second period moments after the Everblades had tied the game at 1-1. After Florida made it 2-2 with an early goal in the third period, Justin Buzzeo scored on a breakaway for his first of the postseason and the eventual game-winning tally to give Orlando a 2-0 series lead.
Doherty Making Impact in First Postseason Run of CareerPrior to the start of the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs, veteran defenseman Taylor Doherty had suited up in 342 regular season games – most of those at the higher-level American Hockey League – without playing in a single postseason match. The blueliner immediately made his presence felt in Game 1 on Wednesday, as he tied a Solar Bears playoff record with three points (2g-1a), tallying a power-play goal and setting up Chris Crane’s game-winner while tying for the team lead with four shots on goal. His three points currently lead all ECHL defensemen.
Massa Stellar Between Pipes for OrlandoGoalie Ryan Massa had an impressive sophomore season with Orlando, setting numerous team single-season and franchise records, and has carried that strong play into the postseason, recording a sparkling .943 save percentage (66 saves on 70 shots against) through the first two games of the series, ranking fifth among postseason goalies.
Baier and Stanton Patrolling BluelineThe defensive pairing of Eric Baier and Ty Stanton each lead the Solar Bears with a +4 rating, as they have only been on the ice for one goal against through the first two games of the series. Baier’s second-period goal on Friday was instrumental in restoring momentum for Orlando, as it reestablished the lead for the visitors, coming just 33 seconds after Florida sniper Matt Berry had tied the game at 1-1. Baier’s seven shots on goal through two games ranks sixth among ECHL defensemen in the postseason, while Stanton continues to provide a rock-solid shutdown presence for Orlando.
Solar Bears Have History on Their Side at Home Against FloridaThe Solar Bears are playing their in-state rivals for the second time in their history. When Orlando faced Florida at home in the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs, the Solar Bears took two of three games at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, winning Games 3 and 4 by 5-2 and 4-3 scores, respectively.
EYE ON THE AHL: Orlando’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, have drawn the Albany Devils for the best-of-five first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. This is the second consecutive season the Marlies have met the Devils in the AHL postseason, with Toronto winning their second-round matchup against Albany in seven games last season, before bowing out in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Hershey Bears. Five players with the Marlies are also eligible to skate with the Solar Bears in the Kelly Cup Playoffs – here’s how they performed this season:
- Nikolas Brouillard – The rookie defenseman scored his first pro goal on Opening Night against Florida back on Oct. 22 and put up 21 points (7g-14a) in 39 games with Orlando, and also skated in his first game with the Marlies.
- Tony Cameranesi – The former Maple Leafs draft pick enjoyed a fine season with Orlando, tying for fifth on the team with 15 goals and earning a selection to the ECHL All-Star Classic, but the rookie was unable to participate after his recall to the Marlies, where he put up seven points (4g-3a) in 31 games over two stints with Toronto.
- Brett Findlay – Findlay had a torrid start to the regular season with Orlando, and received an eventual call-up to the Marlies, where he set career-highs at the AHL level with 24 points (10g-14a) in 34 games.
- Brenden Miller – Miller had a breakout year offensively for the Solar Bears during the regular season, notching 31 points (15g-16a) in 55 games. He also scored the game-winning goal for Toronto in his AHL debut on Feb. 20 vs. Binghamton.
- Kasimir Kaskisuo – The rookie netminder put up respectable numbers in his first full season with the Solar Bears, but his stats improved upon his recall in March to Toronto, where he finished the season with a 5-1-0 record, a 1.84 goals-against average, a .934 save percentage and one shutout.
PRACTICE SCHEDULE:Monday, April 17 – OFF DAYTuesday, April 18 – 10-11 a.m. – ARS.com Rink at Amway CenterWednesday, April 19 – 10-11 a.m. – ARS.com Rink at Amway CenterThursday, April 20 – 10 a.m. – Gameday skate at ARS.com Rink at Amway CenterFriday, March 3 – 10-11 a.m. – ARS.com Rink at Amway CenterPractice locations and times are subject to change
Practices at ARS.com Rink at Amway Center are open only to credentialed members of the media; media members who wish to conduct interviews with players and coaches following practices are asked to coordinate with Jesse Liebman, Solar Bears director of communications & broadcasting, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans and media are invited to attend all on-ice practice sessions held at the RDV Sportsplex Ice Den, the official training facility of the Solar Bears. Flash photography and unauthorized video recording of Orlando Solar Bears practice sessions is not permitted. The RDV Sportsplex Ice Den is located at 8701 Maitland Summit Blvd., Orlando, FL 32810.
NEXT HOME GAMES:
- Game 3 – Solar Bears vs. Florida Everblades – Thursday, April 20 – 7 p.m. – Playoff Poster Giveaway Presented by Coors Light
- Game 4 – Solar Bears vs. Florida Everblades – Saturday, April 22 – 7 p.m.
- Game 5 (if necessary) – Solar Bears vs. Florida Everblades – Sunday, April 23 – 4 p.m.
WATCH/LISTEN:Orlandosolarbearshockey.com is now the broadcast home of the Solar Bears via the Mixlr streaming service. Radio broadcasts of Solar Bears games can be streamed online for free on any PC or mobile device. Pay-per-view video webcasts of all Solar Bears games are also available at ECHL.TV. Fans can now purchase ECHL.TV All-Access Passes, Team Passes and single-game packages to watch the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
APP: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.
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.