WHO: Orlando Solar Bears vs. Atlanta GladiatorsVENUE: Jewett Orthopaedic Rink at Amway Center, Orlando, Fla.DATE: Tuesday, March 3, 7 p.m.WATCH: ECHL.TVLISTEN: OSB Radio via Facebook, Mixlr and TuneInTICKETS: CLICK HERE
TONIGHT: The Orlando Solar Bears (26-26-5-1) face the Atlanta Gladiators (27-28-1-2) in the ninth of 11 meetings this season. Orlando holds a slight edge in the series with a 4-2-2-0 record thanks to points earned in a pair of overtime losses. The Solar Bears can earn their 150th regular season home win in team history with a victory tonight; Orlando has a 149-99-16-16 record at home.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: The Solar Bears enter tonight’s game in fourth place in the South Division, and require only 27 points to clinch a fourth consecutive playoff berth. A victory in regulation tonight over Atlanta would result in a four-point swing that would reduce Orlando’s “magic number” to 23 points.
SMITH TO START: With Clint Windsor joining the Belleville Senators earlier this morning on a PTO, the netminding duties will fall upon Jeff Smith for the second consecutive game. The rookie netminder got his first start with the Solar Bears on Sunday, turning aside 21 of 23 shots against (.913 save percentage) against the Florida Everblades. Dan Herman will serve as Orlando’s emergency backup goaltender.
OFFENSE ANTICIPATED: The series against the Gladiators this season has been particularly high-scoring. Orlando has scored an average of 4.00 goals per game against Atlanta, while the Gladiators have averaged 3.13 goals per game.
DONAGHEY BACK ON BLUEL LINE: Defenseman Cody Donaghey sat out Sunday’s loss to Florida on the team’s reserve list. He has been activated for tonight’s game. Donaghey is tied for second on the team with six assists against the Gladiators this season.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: Atlanta is in the midst of a four-game winning streak, which has included a 6-1 win over Orlando last Friday. Samuel Asselin and Eric Neiley lead the Gladiators in scoring against the Solar Bears with nine points (5g-4a each) in eight games.
NEXT GAME: The Solar Bears host the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m. for a Wine Down Wednesday – fans can take advantage of $5 wine specials during the game. CLICK HERE for tickets to this game.