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Solar Bears Week in Review: The offense is awake!

Two more wins for Orlando this week as they begin an extended East Coast road trip.

Matt Spencer, shown here playing for Syracuse earlier this month, headed to Orlando and suited up for the Solar Bears this past weekend.
Scott Thomas Photography

Looking at the Orlando Solar Bears’ schedule this week, one would think it was a fairly easy schedule with just a pair of games. Thanks to a new offensive spark and a 12 goal outburst, it certainly ended up looking easy, regardless.

The Solar Bears extended their point streak to 7 games (6-0-1-0), and now sit just one point out of first place as they begin a long road swing.

Tuesday, 11/6: Orlando 7, Jacksonville 4

While everyone else was heading to the polls, Orlando had one last home game to tend to before hitting the road—a matchup against Jacksonville with a 10:30 AM start time.

It was obvious which team remembered their morning coffee.

It took less than two minutes into the game for the Solar Bears to get on the board. Mathieu Foget’s second of the season gave the hosts a 1-0 lead 1:48 into the contest. Jacksonville tied the game at 1 at the 13:50 mark on a Wacey Rabbit goal, but Troy Bourke gave Orlando the lead back with his first as a Solar Bear just under four minutes later.

The Solar Bears put the game away in the second with a pair of goals. Corey Kalk scored his first of the year 5:12 in for a 3-1 lead, then Bourke followed with his second of the day almost 7 minutes later. Those goals made it a 4-1 contest after 40 minutes.

Then came the third, where the Solar Bears and IceMen combined for six back and forth goals:

-At the 3:42 mark, Jacksonville’s Justin Woods scored his first of the season to cut the lead to 4-2. Hunter Fejes answered that with his 8th of the year at the 8:12 mark to restore the Solar Bears 3 goal cushion.

-Everett Clark scored his 4th of the season on a power play to bring the IceMen to within 5-3 with 7:31 to go. Vincent Dunn responded with his 3rd at the 16:42 mark to make it a 6-3 contest.

-48 seconds after Dunn’s goal, Dajon Mingo’s second again cut the Solar Bears to two. Mike Monfredo scored an empty netter with 20 seconds left for the final 7-4 margin.

Martin Ouelette finished with 27 saves on 31 IceMen shots. Bourke also added two assists for a four-point morning. All but five Solar Bear skaters registered at least one point.

3 Stars:

3. Mike Monfredo (ORL) 1 goal, 1 assist

2. Vincent Dunn (ORL) 1 goal, 1 assist

1. Troy Bourke (ORL) 2 goals, 2 assists

Saturday, 11/10: Orlando 5, South Carolina 3

A slightly different lineup for Orlando took the ice on Saturday as the Solar Bears began their extended road trip in Charleston. Kalk slotted in for Fejes, who joined the Rockford IceHogs on a PTO on Wednesday. Matthew Spencer was assigned to the Solar Bears by Syracuse on Friday and was paired with Monfredo.

The Stingrays jumped out to a 1-0 lead 2:22 into the contest on a Matt Pohlkamp goal. Midway through the period, the new top line of Shaw, Bourke and Kalk would get to work.

Shaw tied the game at 1 with his 5th goal of the season. Tayler Thompson then gave Orlando a 2-1 lead with 6:47 remaining with his first of the season.

The Solar Bears put the game away with a three goal second period. Shaw got things started 1:15 in with his second goal of the evening to put Orlando up 3-1. Just under two minutes later, Bourke cashed in with his third for a 3 goal lead. Shaw would finish off the hat trick with 4:42 remaining in the period to put the Solar Bears ahead 5-1 after 40 minutes.

However, South Carolina was not about to throw in the towel, as they picked up a pair of goals in the third period. Grant Besse scored his ninth goal of the season to cut the Orlando lead to three. Nick Roberto added a power play goal late to make it interesting, but the Solar Bears would hang on the rest of the way, finishing off a 2-0 week and moving to within one point of first place Norfolk in the South Division.

Ouelette stopped 36 of 39 shots in the win. Bourke and Kalk each had three assists, while Spencer had an assist in his Orlando debut.

3 Stars:

3. Matt Pohlkamp (SC) 1 goal

2. Troy Bourke (ORL) 1 goal, 3 assists

1. Brady Shaw (ORL) 3 goals, 1 assist

News and Notes:

In four games since joining Orlando, Bourke has jumped to fourth in team scoring with 12 points, scoring 3 goals and adding 9 assists. Eight of those points came this week alone, putting him in serious contention for ECHL Player of the Week honors.

Did you know Shaw is the inspiration behind the Brady Brady children’s book series? He talked about it with the Orlando Sentinel after visiting a local elementary school prior to Tuesday’s school day matchup:

“It’s the best way to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when you read stories about what other people have gone through, what other people are going through,” Brady said. “It broadens your education. It opens so many doors.”

Transactions:

DELETE: D Zach Todd, traded to Wichita 11/5

DELETE: F Hunter Fejes, signed PTO with Rockford 11/7

ADD: D Matthew Spencer, reassigned from Syracuse 11/10

This Week:

The road trip heads north into New England this week for the Solar Bears.

On Wednesday, Orlando visits Maine for the first time to take on the expansion Mariners. Friday, it’s on to Manchester to take on the Monarchs to begin a 3-in-3 weekend. Saturday and Sunday, they visit Worcester for a pair of games.