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Heeter, Solar Bears smother Swamp Rabbits in 5-0 shutout

Saturday, March 31st
Heeter, Solar Bears smother Swamp Rabbits in 5-0 shutout

ORLANDO, Fla. – A crowd of 9,555 – the third sellout in franchise history – witnessed the Orlando Solar Bears (33-28-6-3) cap their 2017-18 regular season home schedule with a 5-0 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (23-38-7-1), as Joe Perry and Hunter Fejes scored for the second consecutive game and Cal Heeter pitched a 36-save shutout on Saturday night at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.

The win enabled Orlando to clinch third place in the South Division; the Solar Bears await the final regular standings to be decided to determine their first-round opponent in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, with Orlando playing the team that finishes in second place in the South Division Semifinals.

Click here for the box score.

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SCORING SUMMARY

Orlando: Joe Perry (Nolan Valleau, Max Novak), J.J. Piccinich (Perry, Joshua Winquist), Hunter Fejes (Martins Dzierkals, Novak), Dzierkals (Sean Zimmerman, Valleau), Chris LeBlanc

Goaltender: Cal Heeter (36/36)

Greenville:

Goaltender: Chris Nell (41/46)

ON THE SCORESHEET

  • Joe Perry opened the scoring at the 6:48 mark of the first period with his 18th of the season. Perry received a pass from Nolan Valleau and fired a snap shot at the right circle to beat Chris Nell for a power-play goal. Perry then assisted on J.J. Piccinich’s second-period goal. Orlando’s alternate captain now has a two-game point streak (4g-2a). Perry’s goal stood up as the game-winner, giving the forward the game-winning tally in consecutive games.
  • J.J. Piccinich buried his 18th goal of the season at the 6:36 mark of the second period to give the Solar Bears a 2-0 lead. The rookie now has a two-game point streak (1g-2a).
  • Hunter Fejes made it 3-0 with his 30th goal of the season at the 7:13 mark of the third period. The forward now has a two-game point streak (3g-1a).
  • Martins Dzierkals extended Orlando’s lead to 4-0 at 15:16 of the third period with his 15th goal of the season. Dzierkals also collected an assist on Perry’s first goal, giving the rookie a multi-point night and a two-game point streak (1g-2a).
  • Chris LeBlanc capped the scoring at 16:56 of the third period with an unassisted tally for his 10th goal of the season. LeBlanc is the fourth rookie on the Solar Bears this season to record at least 10 goals.
  • Nolan Valleau earned the primary assist on Perry’s goal and had the secondary helper on Dzierkals’ tally, giving the blueliner a two-game assist streak (2a).
  • Max Novak enjoyed a two-point evening with assists on Perry and Fejes’ goals. Novak now has a two-game assist streak (3a).
  • Joshua Winquist earned an assist on Piccinich’s goal, giving the forward a two-game assist streak (2a).
  • Sean Zimmerman earned his seventh assist of the season on Dzierkals’ goal. The veteran blueliner is two points away from 100 in his career (12g-86a).
  • Cal Heeter secured his 19th victory of the season in the win, making 36 saves on 36 shots against. Heeter also set a new Solar Bears single-season record for appearances by a goaltender with his 42nd appearance, breaking the previous record of 41, which he shared with Ryan Massa’s 2016-17 campaign.

NOTABLES

  • Orlando won the regular season series with Greenville by posting a 5-3-1-0 record in nine games against their division foe.
  • The Solar Bears finished the month of March with a 7-3-1-2 (.654) record.
  • Orlando closed out the 2017-18 home schedule with a 16-13-4-3 (.542) record on home ice.
  • Novak’s assist on Perry’s goal gave the forward his 22nd power-play point this season; he moves past Winquist for sole possession of the team’s single-season record, which the pair originally set in Thursday’s win vs. Jacksonville.
  • Orlando went 1-for-2 on the man advantage and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
  • The Solar Bears are now 14-0-0-0 when Dzierkals scores a goal; Orlando is now also 10-0-0-0 when Fejes lights the lamp.
  • Fejes led the Solar Bears with five shots on goal.
  • 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.
  • Orlando Solar Bears have clinched a berth in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, earning their fourth postseason appearance in their six seasons of operation. Continue to check com for information regarding the on-sale date for tickets for the Kelly Cup Playoffs or visit ticketmaster.com.

THREE STARS1) Cal Heeter – ORL2) Joe Perry – ORL3) Martins Dzierkals – ORL

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 at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.

Upcoming Home Games

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