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Solar Bears Week in Review: On the Road Again

Orlando loses their captain to a trade and splits their 4 game road trip.

Syracuse Crunch Jimmy Huntington (15) playing against the Charlotte Checkers in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. Charlotte won 5-1.
Scott Thomas Photography

As the month of December rolls on, the Orlando Solar Bears had another packed schedule this week, hitting the road for 4 games against 3 different teams. Along the way, the team captain was dealt for more offense, the coach and a rookie achieved career milestones, and Orlando went 2-2, remaining in fourth place in the South Division.

Roster Moves:

-After a brief two-day stay, Jimmy Huntington returned to Syracuse on Monday.

-On Wednesday, the Solar Bears struggling offense got a boost with the return of forward Hunter Fejes after Manitoba released him from his PTO. Fejes had one assist in seven games for the Moose.

-When Orlando arrived in Greenville on Friday, they decided to make an interesting swap with their weekend opponent. Captain Mike Monfredo joined the Swamp Rabbits in exchange for forward Johno May. May had 4 goals and 2 assists in 14 games prior to joining the Solar Bears.

Tuesday, 12/10: South Carolina 2, Orlando 1

The road trip began on Tuesday in Charleston, as the Solar Bears and Stingrays met for the third time in the last 10 days.

The game marked a milestone for Orlando head coach Drake Berehowsky.

After a scoreless first period, all the offense for the game would come in a span of 5:38 in the second. On the Stingrays’ second power play of the evening, Dan DeSalvo scored his 6th at the 11:30 mark to put the hosts ahead 1-0.

Just under three minutes later, Tristin Langan scored his 6th for a 1-1 tie. DeSalvo struck again with 2:52 remaining in the period with his second for a 2-1 South Carolina advantage.

The Solar Bears could only manage 6 third period shots, and South Carolina improved to 5-0-1-0 against Orlando in their season series.

Zachary Fucale took the hard luck loss in net, stopping 33 of 35 shots.

3 Stars:

3. Zachary Fucale (ORL) 33 saves

2. Parker Milner (SC) 20 saves

1. Dan DeSalvo (SC) 2 goals

Friday, 12/13: Orlando 5, Greenville 1

The road trip headed 200 miles northwest to Greenville, as the Solar Bears and Swamp Rabbits faced each other for the first of two on Friday.

The team exchanged goals late in the first period. Trevor Olson got the Bears on the board first with his 5th goal at the 16:45 mark. Jacob Pritchard tied the game with 11 seconds left in the period—and prompted Greenville’s Teddy Bear Toss—with his third of the season.

Orlando took a 2-1 lead at the 8:26 mark of the second on Jimmy Lodge’s second of the season, assisted by May in his Solar Bears debut. The offense finally showed signs of life in the third, exploding for three unanswered goals. Michael Brodzinski gave Orlando an insurance goal at the 3:44 mark with his second of the season. Mikhail Shalagin added his fourth goal with 8:01 remaining in the game for a 4-1 lead. Finally, while on a late 5 minute power play that turned into a 5 on 3 opportunity, Chris LeBlanc scored his 6th for the final 5-1 margin.

Fucale stopped 28 of 29 shots for his 5th win. LeBlanc and Brodzinski each added two assists for three-point games, while May also had two helpers. He also got the helmet in the post-win team meeting:

3 Stars:

3. Zachary Fucale (ORL) 28 saves

2. Johno May (ORL) 2 assists

1. Michael Brodzinski (ORL) 1 goal, 2 assists

Saturday, 12/14: Orlando 1, Jacksonville 0

The Solar Bears got back on the bus and headed approximately 400 miles south to Jacksonville to take on the Icemen on Saturday night.

After a scoreless first, the new guy got Orlando on the board early in the second. On the Solar Bears’ second power play of the game, May scored his first as a Solar Bear for a 1-0 lead.

Clint Windsor took care of the rest, stopping all 27 Icemen shots for his first professional shutout and third win of the season. Alexey Lipanov and Cody Donaghey had the lone assists for Orlando.

3 Stars:

3. Adam Carlson (JAC) 26 saves

2. Johno May (ORL) 1 goal

1. Clint Windsor (ORL) 27 saves, SHO

Sunday, 12/15: Greenville 6, Orlando 2

It was back north to South Carolina on Sunday afternoon, as Orlando and Greenville met for the second time on the weekend.

For two teams finishing up a grueling 3-in-3 weekend—Greenville was shut out in Charleston by the Stingrays on Saturday evening—there was quite a bit of offense in the first 20 minutes. Travis Howe got the hosts on the board first 2:05 into the contest with his second goal of the season. Brodzinski tied the game up midway through the first on Orlando’s first power play of the day. Liam Pecararo scored shorthanded at the 16:08 mark to give the Swamp Rabbits the lead back, only to have May score a power play tally 18 seconds later to re-tie the game at 2.

Greenville took over the game in the second with a pair of goals against Fucale. Matt Marcinew broke the 2-2 tie at the 3:06 mark with hiss 7th of the season. Jacob Pritchard added a power play goal just under 8 minutes later for a 4-2 Swamp Rabbits advantage.

Defenseman Ryan Black scored his first pro goal with 7:23 remaining in the game for a 5-2 lead. With Fucale pulled late, the former Solar Bears captain, Monfredo, got his revenge for the trade, scoring into an empty net for the final 6-2 margin.

Fucale finished with 26 saves on 31 shots in defeat.

3 Stars:

3. Matt Marcinew (GRN) 1 goal

2. Michael Pelech (GRN) 2 assists

1. Liam Pecararo (GRN) 1 goal, 2 assists

This Week:

Before Orlando gets some much needed time off for the holiday, they have three more games to get through first.

On Wednesday, the Solar Bears return home to host Kansas City. Then it’s back on the road for the next two: Friday the team heads back to South Carolina to visit the Stingrays, then head south to Atlanta on Saturday.