After a week and a half of training camp and two preseason games, things got real for the Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday night, as they opened their 2019-20 ECHL regular season at the newly named Jewett Orthopaedic Rink at Amway Center. In front of a sold out crowd of 9,049 fans, the Solar Bears struggled out of the gate against the South Carolina Stingrays, falling behind in the first period en route to a 4-2 loss.
Spencer Martin made his Orlando and ECHL debut in net for the Solar Bears, facing veteran netminder Parker Milner.
The Stingrays got off to a fast start in the opening period, picking up a pair of goals. Forward Mark Cooper scored his first of the season at the 4:39 mark for a 1-0 South Carolina lead.
Casey Bailey, who recently joined the Stingrays after attending Hershey’s training camp, doubled the visitors’ lead with 9:32 remaining in the first.
The defensive struggles continued for the Solar Bears in the second. At the 11:09 mark, just seconds after Orlando killed off a power play, Stingrays defenseman Tom Parisi scored his first of the year for a 3-0 South Carolina lead.
Early in the third, with Solar Bears defenseman Taylor Doherty serving a double minor for a high stick, Matthew Weis capitalized and scored his first for a commanding 4-0 lead. The goal came after a video review, a new feature in all 26 ECHL buildings this season after a tryout last year with four teams.
Finally, with 7:40 remaining in the contest, Orlando was able to get themselves in the goal column, as Ivan Kosorenkov scored on a power play to cut the Stingrays lead to 4-1. Four minutes later, the second-year pro on loan from the San Jose Barracuda picked up his second of the night, for the final 4-2 score.
Martin finished with 31 saves on 35 shots in his first ever ECHL start. Cody Donaghey and three others had one assist each. The Solar Bears were outshot 35-22, and finished 1 for 2 on the power play.
3. Tom Parisi (SC) 1 goal
2. Ivan Kosorenkov (ORL) 2 goals
1. Parker Milner (SC) 20 saves
News and Notes:
On Wednesday, Orlando announced their season opening roster:
Forwards: Jake Jackson, Ivan Kosorenkov, Tristin Langan, Chris LeBlanc, Alexey Lipanov, Ryan Lohin, Jake Marchment, Colby McAuley, Pierre-Luc Mercier, Trevor Olson, Brent Pedersen, Marcus Vela.
Defensemen: Taylor Doherty, Cody Donaghey, Alexander Kuqali, Mike Monfredo, Matthew Spencer.
Goaltenders: Zachary Fucale, Spencer Martin, Zach Sawchenko.
Reserve: Dylan Fitze, Kevin Lohan.
Injured Reserve: Tyler Bird, Jimmy Lodge.
Just like in Syracuse, Orlando is currently carrying three goaltenders, two from the Crunch and one on loan from San Jose. With a slim defensive corps, the Solar Bears have brought back last season’s team MVP, Michael Brodzinski.
-Olson spoke with Spectrum News 13 regarding his comeback from an injury in March.
ICYMI: Here's the full story that ran last night in @SpecSports360 on @MyNews13 @BN9 @OrlandoHockey @trevor12olson journey back to the ice— Despina (@DespinaBarton) October 11, 2019
**Special thank you to @KellyStewart15 and @MidcoSN for sharing some incredible North Dakota hockey footage.https://t.co/YqCdiZUDM9 pic.twitter.com/KLXNknPxug
-Veteran defenseman Monfredo and his father, Vincent, talked to the Orlando Sentinel on Friday about his family background in law enforcement:
Vincent Monfredo worked for the New York Police Department as a transit officer from 1985-92 before he retired because of a job-related injury. He never strayed far, joining various police organizations and lodges.
A first-responder on Sept. 11, 2001, his day began with a call from a friend. After the second airplane crashed into the World Trade Center, Monfredo headed toward Ground Zero.
“I was there for the first seven days,” he said. “I was there straight, 24 hours a day, working on the pile, cleaning up, looking for survivors. It was heartbreaking. It was devastating. It was something that it hit you in the heart.”
The younger Monfredo, entering his third season with the Solar Bears, plans to follow in his father’s footsteps, as he has applied for law enforcement jobs in Orlando and in his native New York City.
Orlando will host Norfolk on Friday, then travel to South Carolina on Saturday.