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Game Preview: Solar Bears vs. Everblades - March 15, 2018

Thursday, March 15th
Game Preview: Solar Bears vs. Everblades - March 15, 2018

WHO: Orlando Solar Bears vs. Florida EverbladesVENUE: ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, Orlando, Fla.DATE: Thursday, March 15, 7 p.m.WATCH: ECHL.TVLISTEN: ESPN Orlando (580 AM)TICKETS: CLICK HERE

TONIGHT: The Solar Bears (30-26-5-1) battle the Florida Everblades (41-12-2-4) tonight as they begin a three-games-in-three-nights set against their in-state rivals. Florida has already clinched a playoff spot, while Orlando owns a 3-6-2-0 record against the Everblades this season and is still in the postseason hunt. The Solar Bears took the last meeting between the two clubs on Feb. 23, a 3-1 win at Florida.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Orlando sits in third place in the South Division, with a five-point cushion on fourth-place Atlanta (vs. Jacksonville tonight at 7:05 p.m.), with one game in hand. The magic number for the Solar Bears to earn a spot in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs currently sits at eight points, and could drop with an Orlando win tonight and/or a Jacksonville (at Atlanta) loss.

PICCINICH ELEVATING GAME: Since the start of the final quarter of the season on Feb. 23, the rookie forward J.J. Piccinich has led the team in scoring with seven points (3g-4a) over eight games. The 2014 draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs has also posted a +5 rating over that span, and leads the team for the season with three shorthanded goals.

GUDBRANSON GAINING GROUND: Alex Gudbranson’s two assists in Orlando’s last game gave the defenseman his fourth multi-point game of the season, tying him for the team lead among blueliners with Sam Jardine and Nolan Valleau. In any game in which any of these three defenseman have enjoyed a multi-point game, Orlando is 4-0-0-0. The Solar Bears are also 10-0-0-0 this season when Gudbranson has posted at least one point.

HEETER LOOKING TO BUILD ON LAST OUTING AGAINST EVERBLADES: Goaltender Cal Heeter is expected to get the start in goal against Florida tonight for Orlando – the 29-year-old netminder was in between the pipes in the Solar Bears’ last meeting with Florida on Feb. 23 – Heeter made 30 saves for his first victory against the Everblades in 2017-18. The goalie is also coming off a 37-save performance against Greenville on Saturday.

STREAKS:

  • J.J. Piccinich – 2-game point streak (2g-2a)
  • Max Novak – 3-game point streak (2g-2a)
  • Martins Dzierkals – 2-game point streak (1g-2a)
  • Hunter Fejes – 2-game point streak (1g-2a)
  • Kale Kerbashian – 2-game goal streak (2g)
  • Chris LeBlanc – 2-game assist streak (3a)
  • Alex Gudbranson – 2-game assist streak (3a)

MILESTONES:

  • Kale Kerbashian – 1 game from 200 career ECHL games
  • Hunter Fejes – 1 assist from 50 career pro assists
  • Max Novak – 1 assist from 50 career pro assists
  • Eric Baier – 1 assist to tie Eric Faille and Denver Manderson for franchise record for assists (79)
  • Joe Perry – 3 goals from 50 with Solar Bears

AFFILIATE NOTES: Garret Sparks made 20 saves to earn his fifth shutout of the season and Mason Marchment collected two assists to help guide the Toronto Marlies (43-16-1-1) to a 4-0 win over the Laval Rocket on Wednesday; the Marlies return to action on Friday in Belleville. The Toronto Maple Leafs (41-22-6-1) picked up a 6-5 shootout win over the Dallas Stars last night, and battle the Buffalo Sabres tonight at 7 p.m.

NEXT GAME: The Solar Bears head to southwest Florida to take on the Everblades tomorrow, March 16 at Germain Arena at 7:30 p.m. in a Wawa Sunshine Cup Series game. Orlando returns home to face the South Carolina Stingrays on Wednesday, March 21. Single-game tickets for the 2017-18 season are now on sale at the Amway Center box office and ticketmaster.com.

About the Orlando Solar Bears:

The Orlando Solar Bears are in their sixth season of operation in the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America, and are the proud affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.

Fiesta Four Packs, presented by CenturyLink, are now available for purchase! Pick four games and get gift certificates to Sonny’s BBQ, Dick’s Sporting Goods, QDOBA Mexican Eats and a FREE center ice ticket to our Noche Latina game, presented by Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson on Friday, March 23 against the South Carolina Stingrays! Packs start as low as $64 and include $68 in FREE gifts! Click here or call (407) 951-8200 for more information.

Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased online at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.

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