Schedule-wise, it was a relatively quiet week for the Orlando Solar Bears. They played two games against two South Division rivals and split the weekend. Off the ice, Orlando received two reinforcements from Syracuse, and took care of some team business.
That team business would be this very important announcement:
The wait is over. Here are your 2018-19 Solar Bears Captains! pic.twitter.com/IeT7k4zWCv— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) December 6, 2018
Veteran defenseman Mike Monfredo was named the sixth team captain in franchise history on Thursday, with forwards Curt Gogol and Brady Shaw serving as alternates. Troy Bourke will also wear the “A” when needed.
Find out what the new Solar Bears Captain has to say about his new role. pic.twitter.com/lI3eIWyJSk— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) December 7, 2018
Also on Thursday, Syracuse reassigned rookie forward Otto Somppi, who had yet to appear in a game this season, to the Solar Bears.
A light week for Orlando began on Friday evening, as they traveled north to Atlanta to face the Gladiators. Bourke returned to the lineup after sitting out last weekend due to injury, while Somppi made his season debut. Corbin Boes got the nod in net.
Projected Lines:— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) December 8, 2018
Boes in goal
: https://t.co/fV1V8amhMz pic.twitter.com/OT7eHmLRac
It didn’t take long for the visitors to make themselves at home. Bourke scored his 5th goal of the season 1:48 into the contest for an early 1-0 advantage. Atlanta tied the game midway through the period on a shorthanded goal by Tanner Pond.
The offense for both teams exploded in the second, with five combined goals. Derek Nesbitt’s 5th goal of the season at the 4:20 mark gave the Gladiators a 2-1 lead. Orlando then took over the game, scoring three times in a span of 3:43. Mathieu Foget picked up a shorthanded goal, his 5th of the season, at the 11:47 mark to tie the game at 2. Shaw followed up with his 13th goal of the year 49 seconds later for a 3-2 Solar Bear lead. Finally, Bourke scored his second of the night with 4 and a half minutes remaining in the period to put Orlando ahead 4-2. Atlanta was able to cut the deficit to 4-3 before the period ended, as Pond scored his second of the game on a power play.
The Solar Bears put the game away for good in the third. Cody Donaghey scored his 3rd with 7:05 remaining for a 5-3 advantage.
Solar Bears win! Take a look at Cody Donaghey’s goal, which stood up as the game-winner in Orlando’s 5-4 victory over the Gladiators! pic.twitter.com/jg4tdmZ313— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) December 8, 2018
Atlanta cut the lead to 5-4 with 5 minutes to go, but could not get any closer.
Boes picked up his 4th win of the season, stopping 32 of 36 shots. Somppi earned his first professional point with an assist on Donaghey’s goal. Shaw and Jonne Tammela each added two assists.
3. Tanner Pond (ATL) 2 goals, 1 assist
2. Troy Bourke (ORL) 2 goals, 1 assist
1. Corbin Boes (ORL) 32 saves
Saturday, 12/8: A Defensive Swap
On a rare Saturday off for the Solar Bears, Orlando and Syracuse swapped defensemen: Matthew Spencer was recalled to the Crunch while rookie Oleg Sosunov headed south.
Before his recall, Spencer had appeared in 11 games for the Solar Bears, totaling one goal, four assists, and a +7. Sosunov had only played in 5 games for the Crunch, scoring one goal.
It was back to work on Sunday afternoon as the Solar Bears hosted the Swamp Rabbits. Sosunov slotted into Spencer’s spot on the first defensive pairing with captain Monfredo.
Projected Lines:— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) December 9, 2018
Boes in goal
: https://t.co/fV1V8amhMz pic.twitter.com/3A9rPk0qwC
Greenville was quite busy in the first minute of the contest. They took a penalty nine seconds into the game, then Stephen Pierog picked up a shorthanded goal at the :57 mark for a 1-0 lead. Donaghey tied the game up at one with his 4th of the year under 4 minutes later. The Swamp Rabbits took a 2-1 lead with 4:04 remaining in the period on Chad Duchesne’s first of the season.
The first half of the second period was all Solar Bears. Somppi scored his first professional goal at the 7:24 mark to re-tie the game at two. Foget gave Orlando their first lead of the day almost 4 minutes later with his 6th.
The Swamp Rabbits took over after that, scoring four unanswered goals. Johno May’s 13th of the season at the 12:40 mark tied the game at 3. Thomas Ebbing then scored his 4th with exactly five minutes remaining, putting the Swamp Rabbits back up by a goal and chasing Boes in favor of Hayden Stewart. Austen Brassard greeted Stewart with his 11th of the season 1:17 later for a 5-3 advantage for the visitors after two periods.
May’s second goal on a power play 1:22 into the third gave Greenville a 6-3 lead. Brent Pedersen drew Orlando back to within 6-4 with 6:20 remaining with a power play goal, his 7th of the year. Michael Pelech then made it 7-4 1:11 later with his 9th of the season.
Boes finished with 10 saves on 14 shots in 35 minutes of work. Stewart was tagged with the loss in relief, stopping 8 of 11.
3. Chad Duchesne (GRN) 1 goal, 1 assist
2. Oleg Sosunov (ORL)
1. Johno May (GRN) 2 goals, 1 assist
ADD: F Otto Somppi, reassigned by Syracuse 12/6
DELETE: D Matthew Spencer, recalled to Syracuse 12/8
ADD: D Oleg Sosunov, reassigned by Syracuse 12/8
It’s another light schedule for the Solar Bears this week. On Wednesday, Orlando heads north to Jacksonville to visit the IceMen. After a rare Friday and Saturday off, the Solar Bears begin a four game homestand at Amway Center on Sunday afternoon against Atlanta.