ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears (14-11-2-0) treated an enthusiastic home crowd to a memorable Teddy Bear Toss game on Friday night, as the club rallied from a 2-0 deficit and prevailed in overtime with a 4-3 win over the Florida Everblades (17-6-5-0) at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.
The Solar Bears collected 8,362 teddy bears and other stuffed animals as part of the Teddy Bear Toss, presented by Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic. The Solar Bears would like to thank Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic along with United Against Poverty, the Children’s Home Society of Florida, Early Learning Coalition of Orange County, the Foundation for Foster Children and the Hope CommUnity Center for helping collect and distribute the teddy bears and stuffed animals throughout the Central Florida area to children in need during the holiday season.
Click herefor the box score.
The Everblades opened the scoring in the first period when John McCarron directed a centering feed from Blake Winiecki past Martin Ouellette at 6:30.
McCarron then deflected a point shot past Ouellette at the 14:51 mark to extend Florida’s lead to 2-0.
In the second period, Mitch Hults answered with two goals of his own to even the score. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect netted his first of the night on the power play when he received a pass out of the right corner from Mathieu Foget and snapped a shot past Jamie Phillips at 5:09 to ignite the Teddy Bear Toss.
The Hults-Foget connection remained strong on Orlando’s subsequent power play, as Foget sent a pass from the left circle to Hults, who was positioned at the right face-off dot. With Chris LeBlanc screening Phillips, Hults blasted a shot past the Everblades netminder for another tally with the man advantage at 12:59.
Orlando gained its first lead of the game in the third period when LeBlanc swung behind the Florida net before setting up Trevor Olson in the slot. The rookie received the pass on his backhand before shifting to his forehand and roofed a shot over the glove of Phillips at 11:48 to give the Solar Bears a 3-2 edge.
The Everblades evened the score when Nathan Perkovich banked the puck in off of Ouellette from beneath the goal line at 15:29, to make it 3-3, and ultimately force overtime.
In the extra session, Dylan Fitze played the role of hero as the rookie forward skipped a rolling puck out of the defensive zone and got behind Patrick McCarron for a breakaway and buried the game-winner 1:57 into the extra frame.
Ouellette picked up his ninth win of the season with 25 saves on 28 shots against; Phillips took the OT loss with 19 stops on 23 shots against.
- The win gives the Solar Bears their first-ever 3-1-0-0 start in the regular season series with the Everblades.
- Fitze finished the night with two points (1g-1a), his second multi-point outing of the season against Florida. He now leads the active roster with two game-winning goals for the season.
- Hults has scored three goals this season against the Everblades; all of them have come with the man advantage.
- Michael Brodzinski led Orlando with five shots on goal.
THREE STARS1) Mitch Hults – ORL2) Dylan Fitze – ORL3) Chris LeBlanc – ORL
NEXT GAME: The Solar Bears complete their week with a road game against the Everblades on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. at Hertz Arena. Orlando is back at home when the team hosts the Jacksonville Icemen on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. CLICK HEREto purchase tickets to the game.
Festive Four Packs presented by CenturyLink
Get the perfect holiday stocking stuffer when you purchase a Festive Four Pack, presented by CenturyLink! Pick any four games and get $65 dollars in gift certificates to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Duffy’s Sports Grill, QDOBA Mexican Eats and a FREE center ice ticket to the Saturday, Dec. 29 game against the Jacksonville Icemen! Packs start as low as $69.99 – CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE.
2018-19 Season Presented by XYMOPrint:
The Orlando Solar Bears are proud to have local digital printing experts XYMOPrintas the presenting sponsor of the 2018-19 season. As a special offer, fans who call XYMOPrint at (888) 223-9390 from now until June 15, 2019 and reference the Solar Bears will receive 30% off their first order of 500 business cards.
2018-19 Single-Game Tickets Now on Sale:
Single-game tickets for the Orlando Solar Bears 2018-19 regular season home schedule are now on sale. Fans can purchase single-game tickets for as little as $15 at the Amway Center box office, or online at Ticketmaster.com.
2018-19 Season Ticket Memberships:
Season Ticket Membershipsfor the seventh season of ECHL Orlando Solar Bears hockey are now on sale. Full and Half-Season memberships are both available, starting as low as $270. For more information, call (407) 951-8200 or visit orlandosolarbearshockey.com.
About the Orlando Solar Bears:
The Orlando Solar Bears are the proud affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning and members of the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America. In six seasons of operation, the team has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs four times. 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.