Luchuk scores late to lift Solar Bears to 3-2 win over Icemen
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Aaron Luchuk took advantage of an opponent attempting to keep its playoff hopes alive and broke a 2-2 tie with a shorthanded empty-net goal with 1:28 remaining in regulation as the Orlando Solar Bears (36-26-6-1) defeated the Jacksonville Icemen (33-29-3-4) on Tuesday night at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena to improve to 3-0-1-0 over its last four games.
Luchuk scored the game-winning tally as the Icemen had a power play late in the game and in need of a regulation win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Jacksonville pulled goaltender Charles Williams to create a 6-on-4 advantage, but Tristin Langan, who had scored the tying score for Orlando earlier in the frame - won a battle along the boards in the defensive zone and fed Luchuk, who carried the puck to neutral ice and flipped it into a wide-open net to eliminate Jacksonville from playoff contention.
Clint Windsor made 21 saves for his 23rd victory of the season to take over the league lead in goaltender wins; the victory was also Windsor’s 42nd career win with the Solar Bears, allowing Windsor to shatter Ryan Massa’s club records for wins in a single season (2015-16) and in career victories.
First PeriodOrlando goal: Tad Kozun (4) at 9:46. Assisted by Fabrizio Ricci and Michael Joly.Shots: ORL 9, JAX 10
Second PeriodJacksonville goal: Erik Bradford (10) at 8:06. Assisted by Ara Nazarian and Trevor Hamilton.Shots: ORL 5, JAX 7
Third Period Jacksonville goal: Mike Szmatula (21) at 4:59. Assisted by Abbott Girduckis and Wacey Rabbit.Orlando goal: Tristin Langan (28) at 12:28. Assisted by Michael Joly and Alexander Kuqali.Orlando goal: Aaron Luchuk (27) [EN-SH] at 18:22. Assisted by Tristin Langan.Shots: ORL 6, JAX 6
Goaltending:ORL: Clint Windsor, 21-for-23JAX: Charles Williams, 17-for-19
THREE STARS:1) Aaron Luchuk - ORL2) Michael Joly - ORL3) Tristin Langan - ORL
- Orlando’s “Magic Number” to secure a berth in the 2021 Kelly Cup Playoffs is now reduced to five points
- The Solar Bears are 7-5-2-0 against Jacksonville this season, with a final road game slated for Friday night
- Luchuk improved his league-leading point totals to 73 (27g-46a) - two more than Wichita’s Anthony Beauregard
- Langan is now tied for second in league goal-scoring with Allen’s Corey Mackin
- Michael Joly added a pair of assists for Orlando
The Solar Bears return home to host Hockey is for Everyone against the South Carolina Stingrays at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center on Thursday, June 3 at 7 p.m.
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