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Solar Bears pick up critical point in 4-3 shootout loss to Swamp Rabbits

Sunday, March 27th
Solar Bears pick up critical point in 4-3 shootout loss to Swamp Rabbits

ORLANDO, Fla. – Aaron Luchuk scored to tie the game with under a minute remaining in regulation and ensure the Orlando Solar Bears (31-27-4-1) came away with at least a point on Sunday afternoon, but Orlando suffered its first shootout loss of the season in a 4-3 decision to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (28-26-4-3) at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center. The Solar Bears (.532) maintain their spot in fourth place in the South Division ahead of Greenville (.516).

After Maxim Cajkovic and Tyler Bird scored power-play goals in the second period to put Orlando ahead 2-1, the Swamp Rabbits got goals from Ben Freeman and Bryce Reddick to take a 3-2 lead in the third period.

With Zach Émond pulled for an extra skater in the final minute, Bird made a critical block in the defensive zone to prevent a potential empty-net score for the visitors. The Solar Bears worked the puck into the offensive zone, and Luchuk beat John Lethemon with a shot to the top-right corner of the net.

After Orlando outshot Greenville 4-1 in the overtime period, the game progressed to the shootout. Although Odeen Tufto scored in the first round, the Swamp Rabbits won the game when Justin Nachbaur beat Émond in the fourth round.

BOX SCORE

1st PeriodGRN Goal: Dallas Gerads (7) at 4:02. Assisted by Liam Pecararo and Alec Rauhauser.SHOTS: ORL 15, GRN 7

2nd PeriodORL Goal: Maxim Cajkovic (7) [PP] at 13:19. Assisted by Aaron Luchuk and Michael Brodzinski.ORL Goal: Tyler Bird (16) [PP] at 18:05. Assisted by Cole Moberg and Hunter Fejes.SHOTS: ORL 15, GRN 6

3rd PeriodGRN Goal: Ben Freemen (9) at 2:09. Assisted by Corbin Baldwin.GRN Goal: Bryce Reddick (5) at 6:47. Assisted by Bobby Russell and Anthony Rinaldi.ORL Goal: Aaron Luchuk (14) at 19:25. Assisted by Michael Brodzinski.SHOTS: ORL 8, GRN 7

OvertimeSHOTS: ORL 4, GRN 1

Shootout (Orlando elects to shoot first)ORL Goals: Odeen Tufto (Round 1)GRN Goals: Ayden MacDonald (Round 1); Justin Nachbaur (Round 4)

GoaltendingORL: Alexei Melnichuk, 0-for-0; Zach Émond [W], 18-for-21GRN: John Lethemon, 39-for-42

NOTABLES:

  • Orlando is 2-2-1-1 in the head-to-head series against Greenville this season, with one remaining at Greenville on April 15.
  • Luchuk (2g-3a) and Michael Brodzinski (0g-5a) tied for the team lead in scoring this week with five points.
  • Cajkovic led Orlando in goal-scoring for the week and has a three-game goal scoring streak (3g).  

NEXT GAMES: The Solar Bears head out on the road to begin a home-and-home series with the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday, April 1 at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum. Orlando returns home to host the Stingrays on Saturday, April at 7 p.m. at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center for First Responders Appreciation Night, presented by VyStar Credit Union. Earlier in the day, the Solar Bears will host the Guns ‘N Hoses Police vs. Fire charity game at 2 p.m.

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