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Fejes lifts Solar Bears to 2-1 OT Game 3 win

Thursday, April 19th
Fejes lifts Solar Bears to 2-1 OT Game 3 win

ORLANDO, Fla. – Hunter Fejes broke a 1-1 tie with a shorthanded goal at the 17:29 mark of the first overtime to lift the Orlando Solar Bears (3-0) to a 2-1 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays (0-3) to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the South Division Semifinals on Thursday night at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.

Click here for the box score.

123OTFINAL
ORLANDO01012
SOUTH CAROLINA01001

The Stingrays controlled much of play in the first period, as the visitors went on a 19-shot run before the Solar Bears managed two shots in the final minute of the opening frame; Orlando received exemplary defensive play from goaltender Cal Heeter and defenseman Alex Gudbranson, who swept a puck away from the goal line late in first period.

Mason Mitchell opened the scoring for South Carolina in the second period when he knocked in a rebound at the left side of the net past Heeter at the 7:47 mark.

Joe Perry knotted the score at 16:46 with his first of the playoffs as Nolan Valleau sent a pass up the slot directly onto the stick of Perry, who redirected it past the stick of Parker Milner. J.J. Piccinich earned the secondary assist on the play, extending his point streak to three games (2g-1a).

A scoreless third period sent the game to overtime, the first of the 2018 postseason for both clubs, and only the second time in franchise history that Orlando would play a playoff overtime game on home ice.

Despite being outshot by an 11-7 margin in the sudden-death session, Heeter kept the Stingrays off the board, weathering the storm of two separate penalties called against the Solar Bears in the extra frame.

Fejes eventually secured the win for Orlando when Sean Zimmerman made a crucial block on the penalty kill that allowed Perry to direct the puck ahead to Fejes, who sped out of the zone before driving the South Carolina net and firing a shot past Milner.

Heeter picked up the win with 49 stops on 50 shots against; Milner took the loss for South Carolina with 28 saves on 30 shots against.

NOTABLES

  • At 79:29, tonight’s game marked the longest playoff overtime game in Solar Bears history in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, along with the first overtime win on home ice in the postseason.
  • Orlando went 0-for-5 on the man advantage and a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill; the Solar Bears are 14-for-14 with the penalty kill through the first three games of the series.
  • Perry led the Solar Bears with five shots on goal.
  • The Solar Bears can wrap up the South Division Semifinals with a win on Saturday, April 21, when Orlando hosts Game 4 of the South Division at 7 p.m. for Game 4.

THREE STARS1) Cal Heeter – ORL2) Hunter Fejes – ORL3) Joe Perry – ORL

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. Orlando owns a 3-0 series lead over South Carolina, and will host the following remaining games this week at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center:

  • 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.

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