It may have been a light week on paper for the Orlando Solar Bears with just two games, but they found a way to keep busy. The team we saw last Sunday had quite a different look come Wednesday.
The changes may have paid off, as Orlando won both games and stayed in the middle of the pack in the ECHL’s South Division.
Before we jump into the games, there were quite a few roster moves for the Solar Bears this week:
-Forward Matt Schmalz was traded to Worcester for future considerations.
-After appearing in two games totaling a goal and an assist, forward Otto Somppi was recalled to Syracuse on Monday.
-Goaltender Martin Ouellette was reassigned to Orlando on Tuesday after the return of Andrei Vasilevskiy set off an organization chain reaction. To make room on the roster, Hayden Stewart was released.
Also, Ouellette returned to the team with a sweet new mask:
New bucket, who dis? pic.twitter.com/4dNQaXac5j— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) December 12, 2018
-Also on Tuesday, forward Troy Bourke was recalled to Syracuse.
-After Wednesday’s game, forward Brent Pedersen joined the AHL’s Manitoba Moose on a PTO.
-On Saturday, forward Brady Shaw was suspended by the team.
-Forward Hunter Fejes returned to the Solar Bears on Sunday after appearing in 7 games with Rockford on a PTO, going scoreless but picking up 16 penalty minutes.
With Ouellette back in the fold, the Solar Bears headed north to Jacksonville on Wednesday night to take on the Icemen.
Projected Lines:— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) December 12, 2018
Ouellette in goal
: https://t.co/fV1V8amhMz pic.twitter.com/EiXXIbpgjg
After a scoreless first period, the hosts were first on the board early in the middle frame. Icemen forward Nikita Korostelev scored his first of the season at the 2:38 mark for a 1-0 Jacksonville lead.
Orlando responded with a pair of goals. First, Jonne Tammela tied the game up with his third in a Solar Bear uniform. Late in the second, Corey Kalk scored his third on a power play to give Orlando their first lead of the night.
Mathieu Foget gave the Solar Bears a 3-1 lead 8:13 into the third with his 7th of the season. Jacksonville responded with under six minutes remaining in regulation, drawing to within 3-2 on a goal by Dajon Mingo. Kalk added his second of the game late to seal the Orlando victory.
In his first start for the Solar Bears since November 14th, Ouellette picked up his 7th win of the season, finishing with 29 saves on 31 shots. Tammela and Foget each added assists.
3. Mathieu Foget (ORL) 1 goal, 1 assist
2. Jonne Tammela (ORL) 1 goal, 1 assist
1. Corey Kalk (ORL) 2 goals
A busy pre-Christmas homestand began at the Amway Center on Sunday afternoon, as the Solar Bears hosted Atlanta in an afternoon matinee matchup.
Projected Lines:— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) December 16, 2018
Ouellette in goal
: https://t.co/fV1V8amhMz pic.twitter.com/memDPuIgiD
Mitch Hults gave the Solar Bears the 1-0 advantage midway through the first with his first goal in an Orlando uniform. Ouellette did not see much in the first 20 minutes, as Orlando held the Gladiators to just four shots on goal.
Dylan Fitze, appearing in his first game in two weeks, doubled the Solar Bear lead late in the second period with his third goal of the season.
Atlanta cut the lead in half with 6:17 remaining in regulation on a goal by Derek Nesbitt, but were unable to get that tying goal.
Ouellette stopped 30 of 31 Atlanta shots in the win. Sosunov earned his first point since joining the Solar Bears with a second period assist.
3. Hunter Fejes (ORL) 1 assist
2. Mike Monfredo (ORL)
1. Martin Ouellette (ORL) 30 saves
Glads fall to @OrlandoHockey on the final game of the road trip. Join us for the first game of a six-game homestand Wednesday night!— Atlanta Gladiators (@atlgladiators) December 16, 2018
Today's Game Recap is brought to you by @MallGADentistry! pic.twitter.com/PLyEuURG4X
It’s a busy four game week for Orlando leading up the Christmas break.
The homestand continues this evening, as the Solar Bears host South Carolina. A three games in three days set with the Everblades finishes the week, with the first two at the Amway Center on Thursday and Friday, then in Estero on Saturday.
If you’re planning on going to Friday’s game, don’t forget to bring a stuffed animal for Teddy Bear Toss!