NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. –J.J. Piccinich scored for the second straight game as the Orlando Solar Bears (2-0) took a two-games-to-none lead in their South Division Semifinals series against the South Carolina Stingrays (0-2) following a 2-1 victory on Saturday night at North Charleston Coliseum.
Click herefor the box score.
As was the case on Thursday in Game 1, both teams played through a scoreless first period, although Orlando had the edge offensively, outshooting South Carolina by a 9-5 margin.
Orlando carried a power play into the second period and capitalized as Max Novak found the back of the net for his first of the postseason just 38 seconds into the middle frame. Kale Kerbashian and Hunter Fejes provided the assists on Novak’s goal.
Piccinich netted the eventual game-winning goal for Orlando when Jean Dupuy dug the puck out along the left half-wall and fed the rookie in the slot, who proceeded to snap a shot into the upper-right corner of the net at the 18:37 mark.
The second period ended with Adam Phillips in the penalty box for Orlando, forcing the Solar Bears to the penalty kill, but goalie Cal Heeter and defenseman Alex Gudbranson made several critical blocks in the crease to prevent the Stingrays from getting on the board.
The Stingrays finally broke through in the third period when Mason Mitchell snapped a shot past Heeter at the 9:21 mark, but the Solar Bears played a stifling defense for the remainder of the game and held on for the eventual win.
Heeter picked up the win with 23 stops on 24 shots against; Milner took the loss for South Carolina with 21 saves on 23 shots against.
- With the win, Solar Bears Head Coach Drake Berehowsky earned his fifth career postseason win behind the bench for Orlando, passing the record of four which he previously shared with Vince Williams (2013-15).
- Orlando went 1-for-2 on the man advantage and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill; the Solar Bears are 9-for-9 with the penalty kill through the first two games of the series.
- Chris Crane led the Solar Bears with four shots on goal.
- The series now shifts back to Orlando, with Game 3 of the South Division Semifinals set for Thursday, April 19 at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center at 7 p.m.
1) Cal Heeter – ORL
2) J.J. Piccinich – ORL
3) Mason Mitchell – SC
PLAYOFF TICKETS: The Solar Bears are battling the South Carolina Stingrays in the South Division Semifinals of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, presented by Coors Light, and will host the following games at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center:
- Game 3 – Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m.
- Game 4 – Saturday, April 21 at 7 p.m.
- Game 5 – Sunday, April 22 at 6 p.m. (if necessary)
Tickets for the first round of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs are on sale now – fans can purchase tickets starting at $18 through the Amway Center box office or by visiting ticketmaster.com.
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.
Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.