After a big win over South Carolina last Saturday, the Orlando Solar Bears headed north to New England to continue their five game road trip, facing opponents outside the South Division for the first time this season.
Facing a tough four games in five days stretch is one thing. Having to do so with your starting goaltender suddenly recalled to the AHL is another.
First stop on the New England tour was Portland, ME on Wednesday night, as the Solar Bears faced the Mariners for the first time.
The teams traded goals 1:31 apart early in the first period. Dwyer Tschantz got the hosts on the board first at the 7:07 mark with his second of the season. Stefan Fournier responded with his first of the year for a 1-1 tie. Maine added two more goals in the opening period from Dawson Leedahl (3rd) and Shawn St-Amant (2nd) to take a 3-1 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Mathieu Foget brought Orlando back to within 3-2 early in the second with his third of the season. St-Amant added his second of the game on a power play with 5:35 remaining in the period for a 4-2 Mariners lead.
Vincent Dunn got the Solar Bears back to within one with his fourth of the season, but Orlando could not get any closer. St-Amant completed the hat trick with 10:52 to go, then Brycen Martin added a shorthanded empty net goal late to finish off the win and stop Orlando’s point streak at seven games.
Martin Ouellette took the loss in net, finishing with 36 saves on 41 shots. Chris LeBlanc added two assists.
3. Terrence Wallin (MNE) 2 assists
2. Dawson Leedahl (MNE) 1 goal, 1 assist
1. Shawn St-Amant (MNE) 3 goals, 1 assist
Our season-high seven-game point streak came to an end tonight. https://t.co/LNgpeUhUGN— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) November 15, 2018
Next stop: New Hampshire, as the Solar Bears paid the Monarchs a visit.
With Ouellette off to Syracuse, rookie goaltender Corbin Boes took over between the pipes, getting his third professional start. Hayden Stewart was brought in from the SPHL’s Knoxville Ice Bears to back up.
After a scoreless first period, the Solar Bears and Monarchs traded goals in the second. Spencer Watson scored his seventh goal of the season at the 4:04 mark to put Manchester ahead 1-0. That lead lasted all of nineteen seconds—Foget scored his fourth to tie the game up. The second period ended early after a power outage struck SNHU Arena, which added 20 seconds to the third.
Watson scored his second of the game midway through the third to put Manchester ahead 2-1. Orlando got a late power play opportunity, and cashed in—Brady Shaw scored his 8th with 50 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 2 and force overtime.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a happy ending for the visitors. Stepan Falkovsky scored the game winner 1:10 into overtime to give the Monarchs the win.
Boes fared well in defeat, stopping 25 of 28 shots in just over 60 minutes of work. Four Orlando skaters each contributed one assist.
3. Chris Driedger (MAN) 32 saves
2. Spencer Watson (MAN) 2 goals
1. Stepan Falkovsky (MAN) GW OT goal
The Solar Bears earned a point thanks to Brady Shaw's power-play goal late in regulation, but the Monarchs prevailed 3-2 in OT. https://t.co/9kbA518IBg— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) November 17, 2018
.@swatty96 netted two goals last night and Stepan Falkovsky came in clutch with the OT winner to give the Monarchs a 3-2 victory over the @OrlandoHockey— Manchester Monarchs (@MonarchsHockey) November 17, 2018
Highlights brought to you by @GoAirGuard #GraniteStateGrit pic.twitter.com/ThHEFaZtX2
The bus then headed south into central Massachusetts, where the Solar Bears and the Railers kicked off a weekend two game set.
It did not take very long for the hosts to grab the lead. Mike Cornell scored on a power play 89 seconds into the contest for a 1-0 advantage. Matthew Spencer tied the game at 1 at the 6:59 mark with his first as a Solar Bear. Worcester took back the one goal lead late in the first on Nick Bligh’s fourth of the season. It was quite a physical first period, as a pair of fights lead to 38 combined penalty minutes.
The Railers took over the contest in the second with two more goals in a span of 1:45. Bligh’s second of the night at the 2:48 mark made it a 3-1 contest. Ivan Kosorenkov added his third for a 4-1 Worcester lead, chasing Boes in favor of Stewart.
Matt Gaudreau, brother of Johnny, finished off the Railers win and capped off a three point night with his first goal of the season late in the third.
Boes took the loss in net, stopping 16 of 20 before being pulled. Stewart fared well in his Orlando debut, notching 11 saves on 12 shots. Foget and Dunn had the lone assists.
3. Matt Gaudreau (WOR) 1 goal, 2 assists
2. Ivan Kosorenkov (WOR) 1 goal, 1 assist
1. Nick Bligh (WOR) 2 goals
Worcester took the first meeting tonight. Back at it tomorrow afternoon. https://t.co/dpdJhEPpZn— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) November 18, 2018
Good morning— Worcester Railers HC (@RailersHC) November 18, 2018
Here are the highlights from last night's 5-1 win over Orlando pic.twitter.com/zGCrVYpae5
One last match up in Worcester on Sunday afternoon stood between the Solar Bears and a trip back home to Florida. Stewart got the nod in net for his first start.
After a scoreless first period, Shaw got Orlando on the board late in the second with a power play goal, his 10th, for a 1-0 lead.
Kosorenkov tied the game for the Railers early in the third with a power play goal. Orlando responded with a pair of goals from Chris LeBlanc (1st) and Trevor Olson (2nd) in a span of 2:12 for a 3-1 Solar Bear lead. However, the hosts were not quite done yet. Tyler Barnes picked up his fourth of the season on a power play at the 11:02 mark to cut the Orlando lead to one. With 3:46 remaining in regulation, Gaudreau completed the Worcester comeback with an unassisted goal to tie the game at 3.
It was on to overtime for the second time in three days for the Solar Bears, and this time a positive result: Michael Brodzinski scored his 4th goal of the season 33 seconds into the extra frame to salvage an Orlando win. The Solar Bears finished their New England swing at 1-2-1.
Stewart finished with 31 saves on 34 shots. LeBlanc and Troy Bourke each added two assists.
The win also gave Solar Bears head coach Drake Berehowsky a career milestone:
Congratulations Coach Berehowsky on 100 Solar Bears wins! pic.twitter.com/6E3SnKj8vb— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) November 18, 2018
3. Chris LeBlanc (ORL) 1 goal, 2 assists
2. Matt Gaudreau (WOR) 1 goal
1. Michael Brodzinski (ORL) GW OT goal
Big win tonight for the Solar Bears to cap the five-game road trip. https://t.co/Hu8poTCZoN— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) November 19, 2018
News and Notes:
On Tuesday, Bourke was named the Inglasco/ECHL Player of the Week, after he put up 8 points in 2 games last week. Since joining the Solar Bears from Syracuse, Bourke has appeared in 8 games, with 3 goals and 11 assists.
DELETE: D Tim Shoup, released 11/12
DELETE: G Martin Ouellette, recalled to Syracuse 11/15
ADD: G Hayden Stewart, signed 11/15
The Solar Bears return to Amway Center to kick off a five game homestand, with three games this week.
Wednesday, Orlando plays host to South Carolina. Friday and Saturday, the Solar Bears will take on expansion Newfoundland for the first time in a two game set. It’s also Kids Weekend, featuring Marvel and Star Wars!