NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Cal Heeter enjoyed a memorable playoff debut as the 29-year-old goaltender made 36 saves in his first career postseason appearance, and the Orlando Solar Bears (1-0) opened Game 1 of their South Division Semifinals series against the South Carolina Stingrays (0-1) with a 2-0 shutout win on Thursday night at North Charleston Coliseum.
Click here for the box score.
Both teams played through a scoreless first period, although Heeter found himself tested early and often by the Stingrays, making 12 saves in the opening frame.
Hunter Fejes opened the scoring at 7:47 of the second period with a shorthanded goal to give Orlando a 1-0 lead, as the Solar Bears forward stole the puck from Jonathan Charbonneau at the South Carolina blue line and snapped a quick shot through the legs of defenseman Tommy Hughes before beating Parker Milner at the glove-side.
Heeter, meanwhile, stopped a game-high 17 shots in the second period, and held on in the third with seven more saves as Sam Jardine eventually dished a pass ahead to J.J. Piccinich, who streaked up the ice and buried an empty-net goal at the 19:07 mark to seal the victory for Orlando.
Heeter picked up the win and shutout with 36 stops; Milner took the loss for South Carolina with 18 saves on 19 shots against.
- Heeter’s 36 saves marked the most made by a single Solar Bears goaltender for a shutout in the postseason, passing the mark originally set by Maxime Clermont (4/25/14 at Cincinnati, Game 4 – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, made 25 saves in a 2-0 win).
- Fejes’ second-period goal was the third shorthanded goal in Solar Bears Kelly Cup Playoffs history, and the first scored on the road.
- Joe Perry led the Solar Bears with seven shots on goal.
- The Solar Bears remain in the Lowcountry as they continue the South Division Semifinals this weekend with Game 2 slated for Saturday, April 14 at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum.
THREE STARS1) Cal Heeter – ORL2) Hunter Fejes – ORL3) Parker Milner – SC
PLAYOFF TICKETS: The Solar Bears are battling the South Carolina Stingrays in the South Division Semifinals of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, presented by Coors Light, and will host the following games at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center:
- Game 3 – Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m.
- Game 4 – Saturday, April 21 at 7 p.m.
- Game 5 – Sunday, April 22 at 6 p.m. (if necessary)
Tickets for the first round of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs are on sale now – fans can purchase tickets starting at $18 through the Amway Center box office or by visiting 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 at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.