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Game Preview: Solar Bears at Nailers | Dec. 18, 2020

Friday, December 18th
Game Preview: Solar Bears at Nailers | Dec. 18, 2020

TONIGHT: The Orlando Solar Bears (0-1-0-0) seek their first win of the season as they open a two-game set against a rare opponent, the Wheeling Nailers (0-1-0-0).

LEBLANC IN POSITION TO MOVE INTO SOLAR BEARS TOP 5: Chris LeBlanc’s next point will give him sole posession of fifth place on the team’s scoring list - he is currently tied with Brett Findlay with 95 career points with Orlando. The Solar Bears captain’s next goal will move him into a tie with Jacob Cepis and Brady Vail for the fifth-most in team history; he is currently tied with Denver Manderson with 34. LeBlanc is already the franchise’s all-time leader in games played among forwards (174).

COUNTRY ROAD, TAKE ME HOME: The Solar Bears have historically played some of their best hockey at WesBanco Arena. Through seven previous matches on the road against the Nailers, Orlando is a lifetime 6-1-0-0, out-scoring Wheeling by a 32-16 margin.

THOMSON COULD MAKE DEBUT TONIGHT: The Solar Bears signed veteran forward Ben Thomson earlier this week, and Thomson could make his first appearance with his new club as early as tonight, skating on a line with Jimmy Huntington and J.J. Piccinich. Thomson is one of three Solar Bears players on the club’s roster with NHL experience, having suited up for the New Jersey Devils for three games in the 2016-17 season.

GOALTENDER MATCHUP: The Solar Bears could give Clint Windsor one of the starts this weekend against Wheeling; he previously picked up a win against the Nailers last season on Feb. 1, a 5-2 win in which he made 31-of-33 saves. Should Garret Sparks get the nod, it would be his first career appearance against the Nailers. Shane Starrett is the lone goaltender who has seed game action for the Nailers this season, making 23-of-26 saves in a 3-2 Opening Week loss to Indy.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: The Nailers hired Mark French during the offseason, bringing in a coach who guided the Hershey Bears to the Calder Cup title in 2009-10. Wheeling also loaded up in ECHL free agency, signing former Greenville captain Michael Pelech along with 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs MVP Michael Joly.

NEXT GAME: The Solar Bears resume their weekend series with the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7:10 p.m. at WesBanco Arena. The Solar Bears play their first home game of the 2020-21 regular season against the Jacksonville Icemen on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center.

2020-21 Season Ticket Memberships on Sale Now:

Upgrade to Solar Status and become a Season Ticket Member today. Season ticket memberships for the 2020-21 season are now on sale and start as little as $279 – CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

New Mobile App: 

Download the new Orlando Solar Bears mobile app today — get access to your game tickets, news, updates and more! Download in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store today.

2020-21 Season Presented by XYMOPrint:

The 2020-21 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 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning and members of the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America. In eight 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 the AdventHealth 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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