TONIGHT: The Solar Bears (32-28-6-3) complete their 2017-18 regular season home schedule tonight against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (23-37-7-1). The Solar Bears and Swamp Rabbits have identical 4-3-1-0 records against each other – the winner of tonight’s game will take the season series. Greenville has not visited Orlando since a two-game set in November.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: The Solar Bears have clinched a spot in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs and will compete in the postseason for the fourth time in franchise history. Orlando sits in third place in the South Division, with a six-point cushion on fourth-place Atlanta (at Florida) – the Solar Bears only need one point out of their remaining three games to lock up the third seed. If the playoffs were to begin today, Orlando’s opponent in the South Division Semifinals would be South Carolina.
NOVAK PACES SOLAR BEARS: Forward Max Novak leads Orlando with nine points (3g-6a) through seven games against the Swamp Rabbits. The forward picked up his 54th point of the season on Thursday with an assist against Jacksonville.
HEETER TO PASS MASSA: Cal Heeter is expected to get the start tonight against Greenville. When he takes the ice, he will pass Ryan Massa for the most games played by a Solar Bears goaltender in a single season with his 42nd appearance. Heeter sports a 2-2-1 record with a 2.91 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage against Greenville this season.
POWER ON: Orlando’s power play has been exceptional against Greenville this season, converting on 13-of-42 chances for a 30.95% clip. The Solar Bears are also coming off a 2-for-9 performance against the Icemen on Thursday.
- Martins Dzierkals – 2-game assist streak
- Kale Kerbashian – 3 goals from 100 in professional career
- Sean Zimmerman – 3 points from 100 in professional career
- Hunter Fejes – 2 goals from 50 in professional career
AFFILIATE NOTES: The Toronto Marlies (49-18-1-1) rolled to a 3-2 win over the Manitoba Moose on Friday and square off in a rematch this afternoon. The Toronto Maple Leafs (46-24-6-1) picked up a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers last night, and in the process set a new franchise record for wins in a season. Toronto picked up a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders last night, and return home tonight to host the Winnipeg Jets.
NEXT GAME: The Solar Bears hit the road to close out the 2017-18 regular season, as they face the Atlanta Gladiators on Friday, April 6 at 7:35 p.m. at Infinite Energy Arena.
PLAYOFF TICKETS: The Orlando Solar Bears have clinched a berth in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Continue to check orlandosolarbearshockey.com for information regarding the on-sale date for tickets for the Kelly Cup Playoffs or visit 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.
Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased online at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.