1. Home
  2. News
  3. Practice Report: May 5, 2021

Practice Report: May 5, 2021

Wednesday, May 5th
Practice Report: May 5, 2021

It’s been written already how much of an impact Aaron Luchuk has made offensively this season for the Solar Bears. The latest evidence to support that has been his selection as the Warrior Hockey ECHL Player of the Week, announced this afternoon, earned in part due to his leading the ECHL in scoring in April with 19 points and 10 goals.

“It was a good month for the group as well, not just me. It’s always nice to contribute offensively - I think it’s been me getting comfortable with the group we have and getting really settled into Drake’s system, and I’ve been the beneficiary of some really good linemates with [Tristin] Langan, [Chris] LeBlanc and now [Michael] Joly. It’s been a lot of fun, but I’m really looking forward to this stretch run.”

“You can see the skill in him all the time,” Solar Bears head coach and general manager Drake Berehowsky said. “It’s a whole new team that we’ve played with here, and I think it maybe took him a while for him to get acclimatized to us, and now he’s on a tear at both ends of the rink.”

Topping heads up to AHL

Kyle Topping is on his way up to the San Jose Barracuda, after the AHL-contracted rookie posted 15 points in 24 games with Orlando following his re-assignment to the Solar Bears in March.

The loss of Topping, who has primarily played at center for the Solar Bears, leaves a hole in the middle of the lineup that could potentially be filled by Chris LeBlanc, once Orlando’s captain returns from the Commissioner’s Exempt List. LeBlanc had comfortably moved to Tristin Langan’s wing several weeks ago when the team was flush with at center, but with Michael Joly finding evident chemistry alongside Langan and Aaron Luchuk in LeBlanc’s absence, LeBlanc could find his way back to his natural role in the face-off dot.

Joly was not on the ice for a maintenance day, so Tad Kozun found himself skating alongside Langan and Luchuk; Berehowsky notes that nothing has nothing has been set in stone as far as line combinations for Friday.

“We’ll just play it day-by-day, you can’t make those calls now. One thing in this league is that forwards have to learn to play all the different positions, and I think it’s great that they’re learning how to play wherever they’re put. When they get called up to the AHL, they can always say, ‘I know how to play this [position], or I know how to play that,’ and they’ll be able to handle it.”

One player who could earn more ice time at center is Kryštof Hrabík, who is beginning to use his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame more effectively to protect the puck as he navigates his first season of professional hockey.

“I think everything is repetition. They say it takes about 10,000 practice reps to perfect a skill, so we’re here trying to correct those detail things and show him video,” Berehowsky said. “The more he uses his body against these guys, the better off he’ll be.”

Piccinich off Exempt List

Despite Topping’s departure, there was some good news from practice this morning as forward J.J. Piccinich was removed from the Commissioner’s Exempt List after he was forced to quarantine during the road trip in Indianapolis.

“It felt great to be back on the ice with the guys,” Piccinich said. “I wasn’t really enjoying staying in my room all day.”

Having Piccinich back will certainly bolster Orlando’s ability to manufacture offense - he was third in team scoring during the month of April with 10 points in 11 games prior to going on the Commissioner’s Exempt List on April 26. That being said, the team is making sure not to rush him back.

“Coming back after spending all of that time away from the rink can be hard, so we want to make sure he’s okay and able to play,” Berehowsky said.

Spencer shrugs off battle scars

Defenseman Matthew Spencer has been rocking a noticeable set of stitches along his left eyebrow after he was cut by his visor during his scrap with South Carolina’s Chase Stewart last week. It’s not the first time this season that Spencer has taken some abuse to the face, after the 24-year-old was forced to wear a bubble shield after breaking his nose in a game at Greenville in January. How does Spencer explain why his face has become a magnet for abuse this season?

“The past couple of seasons I’ve been pretty lucky with that sort of thing, and every year I go into the upcoming season thinking this is the year we’re I’m going to have to deal with some bumps and bruises. And it looks like this is finally that year,” Spencer said. “Otherwise, I feel great. I think the consensus amongst the guys was I won the fight pretty handily. [The cut] made for a pretty good picture.”

Berehowsky echoed the sentiment.

“I think he did a great job in the fight, and he’s playing really well for us right now. Hopefully he can keep it going and continue to contribute.”

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Friday, April 26th
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM EDT
Kia Center
Greenville Swamp Rabbits
GVL Greenville Swamp Rabbits
at
Orlando Solar Bears
ORL Orlando Solar Bears
Kia Center
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Saturday, April 27th
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Puck Drops:
9:00 PM EDT
Kia Center
Greenville Swamp Rabbits
GVL Greenville Swamp Rabbits
at
Orlando Solar Bears
ORL Orlando Solar Bears
Kia Center
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Sunday, April 28th
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM EDT
Kia Center
Greenville Swamp Rabbits
GVL Greenville Swamp Rabbits
at
Orlando Solar Bears
ORL Orlando Solar Bears
Kia Center

Latest News

More News
Blues Reassign Biakabutuka to Bears; Hoelscher Loaned From Springfield to Orlando
Blues Reassign Biakabutuka to Bears; Hoelscher Loaned From Springfield to Orlando
Solar Bears Announce Home Playoff Dates For First Round Series
Solar Bears Announce Home Playoff Dates For First Round Series
Solar Bears Announce 2024 Playoff Roster
Solar Bears Announce 2024 Playoff Roster

Get Hockey Updates

Sign up for our email newsletter to be the first to know about news and upcoming games!