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ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears have announced the acquisition of forward Mitch Vandergunst from the Allen Americans to complete the future considerations portion of the Oct. 9 trade that sent defenseman Austin McEneny to Allen. Orlando has also signed defenseman Zane Schartz to an ECHL Standard Player Contract. Additionally, the Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned rookie forward Alexey Lipanov to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, while defenseman Kevin Lohan has been released from his professional try-out agreement (PTO) with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls and has been returned to the Solar Bears.
Vandergunst, 25, has 36 penalty minutes in 18 games split between Allen and the Jacksonville Icemen this season. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound winger has 12 points (5g-7a) and 272 penalty minutes in 80 career games with Allen, Jacksonville, the Florida Everblades and Norfolk Admirals. Last season, the bruising forward finished second in the Eastern Conference with 201 penalty minutes and led all rookies with 14 major penalties for fighting.
The Exeter, Ontario native has also appeared in 26 career games in the Southern Professional Hockey League with the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs, Pensacola Ice Flyers and Knoxville Ice Bears, collecting eight points (2g-6a) and 100 penalty minutes.
Prior to turning pro, Vandergunst played one season of senior hockey for the Clinton Radars of the Western Ontario Athletic Association Senior Hockey League, where he captured the WOAA championship and recorded 18 points (7g-11a) and 55 penalty minutes in 23 games.
Schartz, 25, joins Orlando after suiting up in 20 games for Hungarian club Fehérvári Titánok of Austria’s Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, where he collected five assists.
Schartz’s pro experience includes 33 ECHL games with the Toledo Walleye, Indy Fuel and Norfolk Admirals, where he has amassed 10 points (3g-7a) and 17 penalty minutes.
Prior to turning pro, the 6-foot, 190-pound blueliner played three seasons of collegiate hockey for Liberty University, where he picked up 129 points (48g-81a) and 65 penalty minutes in 99 career games for the Flames program.
The Wichita, Kansas native also played Junior A hockey for the Surrey Eagles, Trail Smoke Eaters, West Kelowna Warriors and Brooks Bandits, posting 40 points (11g-29a) and 34 penalty minutes in 94 games.
Lipanov, 20, has 16 points (9g-7a) and 10 penalty minutes this season with Orlando. He has already scored six power-play goals this season, a new Solar Bears rookie record.
Lipanov was a third-round selection (#76 overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Lohan, 26, did not dress in any games for San Diego after he was loaned on Feb. 9. In 44 games with the Solar Bears this season, the blueliner has collected six points (1g-5a) and 35 penalty minutes.
The Solar Bears host the Norfolk Admirals on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. for Heart Health Awareness Night, presented by AdventHealth. The first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a free commemorative puck, presented by AdventHealth, the official healthcare provider of the Orlando Solar Bears. CLICK HERE for tickets to this game.
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Order New Jerseys:
The Orlando Solar Bears will wear new jerseys for the 2019-20 season. Replica jerseys are available for purchase online, with adult sizes available for $149.95 and youth sizes available for $109.95. Fans can visit bit.ly/OSBJerseys to place their order today.
2019-20 Season Ticket Memberships on Sale Now:
Upgrade to Solar Status and become a Season Ticket Member today. Season ticket memberships for the 2019-20 season are now on sale and start as little as $270 – CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
2019-20 Season Presented by XYMOPrint:
The 2019-20 Orlando Solar Bears season is presented by XYMOPrint, Orlando’s digital printing experts. As a special offer, fans who call XYMOPrint at (888) 223-9390 from now until June 15, 2021 and reference the Solar Bears will receive 15% off their first order and a free Orlando Solar Bears poster!
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 seven seasons of operation, the team has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs five times. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play 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.