GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Orlando Solar Bears (29-25-5-1) enjoyed an offensive explosion on Saturday night as the club matched its season-high for goals and equaled its largest margin of victory this season, as Orlando thumped the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (21-33-6-1) by a 7-1 score at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
With the victory, the Solar Bears (61 GP, 64 points) now hold a five-point lead on the Atlanta Gladiators (62 GP, 59 points) for third place in the South Division. Additionally, Orlando’s magic number to clinch a berth in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs has been reduced to 12 points as a result of the win by the Solar Bears and a 3-2 loss by the Jacksonville Icemen (60 GP, 51 points) to the Florida Everblades.
Click here for the box score.
Orlando: Martins Dzierkals (Hunter Fejes, Aleksandr Mikulovich), Joe Perry [PP] (Mike Monfredo, Robbie Baillargeon), Max Novak (Sean Zimmerman), Hunter Fejes (Alex Gudbranson, Cal Heeter), Kale Kerbashian (Kristian Pospisil, Novak), Pospisil, Adam Phillips (Mikulovich, J.J. Piccinich)
Goaltender: Cal Heeter (37/38)
Greenville: J.T. Henke (Daniel Echeverri)
Goaltender: Ty Rimmer (20/27)
ON THE SCORESHEET
- Martins Dzierkals opened the scoring just 1:40 into the first period when he snapped a shot past Ty Rimmer into the upper-right corner of the net for his 14th goal of the season.
- Joe Perry pulled the Solar Bears ahead with a power-play tally that stood up as the eventual game-winning goal at 16:46 of the first period. Perry’s 12th goal of the season was a redirect of a one-timer from Mike Monfredo that got through Rimmer and broke a nine-game goal drought for the forward.
- Max Novak made the score 3-1 at the 1:28 mark of the second period when he received a pass in the slot and buried the puck through the legs of Rimmer for his 17th goal of the season. He then contributed an assist on Kale Kerbashian’s goal. Novak now has a three-game point streak (2g-2a).
- Hunter Fejes netted his 25th goal of the season at 12:15 of the second period to bring the score to 4-1. Fejes also earned the primary assist on Dzierkals’ goal.
- Kale Kerbashian extended Orlando’s lead to four goals at 13:42 of the second period with his fifth of the season to make the score 5-1 in favor of the Solar Bears.
- Kristian Pospisil enjoyed a two-point night, as the rookie netted his 13th of the season at 6:20 of the third period with an unassisted goal that came off a 3-on-1 rush. Pospisil also earned an assist on Kerbashian’s goal.
- Adam Phillips capped the scoring with a shot from the blueline that beat Rimmer at 19:44 of the third period. The goal was the second of the season for Phillips, and the defenseman now has four points (2g-2a) and is a +5 over his last four games.
- Aleksandr Mikulovich picked up assists on Dzierkals’ and Phillips’ goals, giving the defenseman his first multi-point outing of the campaign.
- Mike Monfredo chipped in an assist on Perry’s goal.
- Robbie Baillargeon made his debut for the Solar Bears after being acquired from South Carolina on Thursday, and the rookie collected an assist on Perry’s goal.
- Sean Zimmerman contributed the lone assist on Novak’s goal, and also scrapped with Swamp Rabbits defenseman Jake Schultz at 10:59 of the third period.
- Alex Gudbranson grabbed a rebound from Cal Heeter and flipped the puck out of the defensive zone to Hunter Fejes, leading to the goal that made the score 4-1.
- J.J. Piccinich earned an assist on Phillips’ goal.
- Cal Heeter picked up his 17th win of the season for the Solar Bears, making 37 saves on 38 shots against. The goaltender also earned an assist on Fejes’ goal.
- The Solar Bears are now 13-0-0-0 when Dzierkals scores a goal. Dzierkals also led Orlando with four shots on goal.
- Heeter’s 17th win this season now ties the goaltender with John Curry (2012-13) for the fourth-most wins by a Solar Bears goalie in a single season.
- Orlando went 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
- The Solar Bears reached their season-high of seven goals for the third time this season – the two previous instances were on Nov. 19 at Greenville, and Dec. 16 at Norfolk.
- Orlando matched its season-high of three goals in the second period for the 10th time this season.
- The Solar Bears conclude their road trip on Sunday, March 11 as against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at 3 p.m. from Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Orlando returns home to face the Florida Everblades on Thursday, March 15 in a Wawa Sunshine Cup Series game. Single-game tickets for the 2017-18 season are now on sale at the Amway Center box office and ticketmaster.com.
1) Cal Heeter – ORL
2) Hunter Fejes – ORL
3) Max Novak – ORL
About the Orlando Solar Bears:
The Orlando Solar Bears are in their sixth season of operation in the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America, and are the proud affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.
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Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.