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Solar Bears Week in Review: When past and present collide

Orlando gains a weekend split with Norfolk.

Scott Thomas Photography

On paper, it looked like a normal two game weekend set between the Orlando Solar Bears and their South Division rival, the Norfolk Admirals. But one could say it was the past meeting the present, as the new Lightning affiliate faced off against an old one (albeit from a different league).

For five years, Tampa Bay’s AHL prospects called Norfolk home, a time period that culminated in a record-breaking 28 game winning streak and a Calder Cup championship in 2012. The Lightning’s AHL affiliate than switched to Syracuse.

That’s the past, though. Present time is where Orlando and ECHL Norfolk split an offensively-driven weekend.

Saturday, 12/1: Orlando 6, Norfolk 5 (OT)

It was Alzheimer’s Awareness Night at the Amway Center on Saturday, as the first of the two game set got underway. Orlando sported special jerseys for the occasion, with proceeds from a postgame auction going to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center, a center based in nearby Altamonte Springs.

The cause is personal for forward Curt Gogol, who lost his grandmother to the disease in 2016.

The first period was dominated by Orlando, as they put up three goals against Admirals goaltender Ty Reichenbach. Brent Pedersen kicked off the scoring at the 5:03 mark with his 6th goal of the season. After that first goal, Gogol and Luke Nogard shook things up.

Eleven seconds after the fight, the Solar Bears doubled their lead on a goal by Alex Schoenborn. Less than two minutes later, Jonne Tammela scored his second as a Solar Bear for a 3-0 Orlando advantage. Norfolk got on the scoresheet with 5:25 remaining in the first on a power play goal by Patrick D’Amico.

The second period featured even more offense, as the teams combined for five goals. Corey Kalk gave Orlando a 4-1 lead two minutes into the period with his second of the season.

However, Norfolk was not about to put up the white flag. In a span of 3:51, a 4-1 Solar Bear lead suddenly became a 4-4 tie, thanks to goals by Darik Angeli, Nogard (on a power play), and D’Amico. Schoenborn then added his second goal of the night with 2:44 remaining in the period to put Orlando back up 5-4.

The Admirals again answered in the third, as a power play goal by Ben Duffy with 14:04 to go in regulation re-tied the game at 5.

It was only natural that this one would go into overtime. Orlando finished the job. Brady Shaw’s 11th of the season 1:21 into the extra frame gave the Solar Bears a hard-fought win.

Corbin Boes only stopped 31 of 36 shots, but it was good enough to get the win. Chris LeBlanc added two assists.

3 Stars:

3. Alex Schoenborn (ORL) 2 goals

2. Corey Kalk (ORL) 1 goal, 1 assist

1. Brady Shaw (ORL) 1 goal, 1 assist

Sunday, 12/2: Norfolk 4, Orlando 3

Fifteen and a half hours after the teams left the ice, it was time for the rematch. Hayden Stewart got the nod in net for the Solar Bears.

Just like the night before, Orlando was first on the board. Mike Monfredo’s second of the season 3:07 into the contest put the hosts ahead 1-0. Norfolk then responded with a pair of goals on Stewart. Nogard scored his third goal of the weekend at the 6:56 mark to tie the game up, then a Taylor Cammarata goal just under three minutes later gave the Ads their first lead of the weekend. Cody Donaghey picked up a late power play goal, his second of the season, to re-tie the game at 2.

Despite being outshot 24-13, Norfolk took the lead back midway through the second on a pair of goals. Jalen Smereck and Duffy scored 53 seconds apart to put the Admirals up 4-2, and in the process chased Stewart in favor of Boes. Shaw drew the Solar Bears back to within a goal late in the second with his 12th of the year, but Orlando was unable to get the equalizer the rest of the way.

Stewart took the loss, stopping 15 of 19 before being taken out. Boes was a perfect 17 for 17. Tammela added two assists in the loss.

Orlando put a season high 50 shots on net, but Reichenbach stopped 47 of them.

3 Stars:

3. Patrick D’Amico (NOR) 1 assist

2. Darik Angeli (NOR) 2 assists

1. Ben Duffy (NOR) 1 goal, 1 assist

News & Notes:

A schedule adjustment has been made to the three game set against Idaho at the Amway Center in March: the game originally scheduled for March 18th is now on March 15th. Also, a noontime puck drop on March 19th has been moved to a 7:00 PM start.

Transactions:

ADD: F Mitch Hults, reassigned by Syracuse 11/27

DELETE: F Stefan Fournier, traded to Wichita 11/27

ADD: F Matt Schmalz, acquired from Wichita 11/30

This Week:

Another light schedule for Orlando this week.

On Friday, the Solar Bears head north to Atlanta to face the Gladiators. After a rare Saturday off, they host Greenville on Sunday afternoon.