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Solar Bears Week in Review: Celebrating Florida Hockey Weekend

Orlando begins 2019 by honoring Sunshine State hockey and taking two of six points.

Olivier Archambault, shown here playing for Syracuse, was loaned to Orlando last week.
Scott Thomas Photography

After finishing 2018 on a high note—taking two out of three against division rival Jacksonville—the Orlando Solar Bears hoped to carry that momentum into 2019. An offensive drought to start the week did not help, but, during a weekend where Florida hockey was given the spotlight, the Solar Bears finished their homestand on a positive note.

Wednesday, 1/2: Greenville 2, Orlando 1

Orlando began the 2019 calendar year at home on Wednesday, hosting the Swamp Rabbits.

The visitors grabbed the early 1-0 lead late in the first period, thanks to a shorthanded goal by Brendan Harms, his 5th goal of the season. Orlando responded with a strong second period, outshooting Greenville 16-5 and tying the game at 1 on a Mathieu Foget goal.

The Swamp Rabbits took a 2-1 lead at the 9:02 mark of the third on a goal by Dylan Vander Esch. Orlando was held to 6 shots for the period, and were unable to get that second goal.

Corbin Boes took the loss in net for the Solar Bears, stopping 25 of 27 shots.

3 Stars:

3. Brendan Harms (GRN) 1 goal

2. Garrett Bartus (GRN) 29 saves

1. Dylan Vander Esch (GRN) 1 goal

On Thursday, Syracuse reassigned forward Olivier Archambault to the Solar Bears. In a related move, Orlando acquired the playing rights to Archambault from the Allen Americans in exchange for forward Curt Gogol, defenseman Etienne Boutet, and the playing rights to defenseman Sam Jardine. After getting a late start to his season thanks to offseason surgery, Archambault appeared in 7 games for the Crunch, notching three assists.

Saturday, 1/5: South Carolina 2, Orlando 1

It was Lightning Night at the Amway Center on Saturday, as the Solar Bears kicked off Florida Hockey Weekend with the first of two matchups against the Stingrays.

Unfortunately, the Solar Bears looked more like a Lightning opponent in recent weeks than a Lightning affiliate in the first period. Goals by Patrick Gaul and Jonathan Charbonneau in a span of 4:31 gave the visitors the early two goal advantage.

Cody Donaghey got Orlando on the board at the 10:13 mark of the second period with his 8th goal of the season. The Solar Bears outshot the Stingrays 32-23, but for the second straight game they were unable to generate that second tying goal.

Boes finished with 21 saves in the loss.

3 Stars:

3. Patrick Gaul (SC) 1 goal

2. Jonathan Charbonneau (SC) 1 goal

1. Angus Redmond (SC) 31 saves

Sunday, 1/6: Orlando 4, South Carolina 1

It was a quick turnaround on Sunday afternoon for the rematch, as the Solar Bears and Stingrays kicked off a hockey doubleheader. After the game, fans could stay for a matchup between the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida.

Charlie Millen got his second start since joining Orlando. Captain Mike Monfredo was playing with a slightly lighter wallet—he was fined an undisclosed amount by the ECHL for a spearing major he received in the final seconds of Saturday’s contest.

The first period belonged to Solar Bears forward Trevor Olson, as he single-handedly provided all the offense. His first goal came 92 seconds after the opening puck drop.

Olson then scored his second goal at the 13:44 mark on a power play to double the Solar Bears lead.

After a scoreless second, the Stingrays cut the Orlando lead in half 6:01 into the third on a shorthanded goal by Andrew Cherniwchan. Twenty-two seconds later, Donaghey gave the Solar Bears the two goal lead back with his 9th of the season on a power play.

You may have noticed watching the above video that Donaghey had been knocked down before recovering to get that goal. Well...the guilty party, John MacLeod, was given a match penalty for slewfooting, giving Orlando the extended power play. Foget took advantage, picking up his 10th of the season to extend the Solar Bear lead to three.

Millen picked up his first Orlando win, stopping 38 of 39 shots. Mitch Hults and Michael Brodzinski each had two assists. The Solar Bears peppered Stingrays goaltender Gordon Defiel with 50 shots.

3 Stars:

3. Cody Donaghey (ORL) 1 goal, 1 assist

2. Trevor Olson (ORL) 2 goals

1. Charlie Millen (ORL) 38 saves

This Week:

Orlando will hit the road for the week, heading north to Virginia for a three game series against Norfolk on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.