After a 3-in-3 weekend sweep of first place Florida, the Orlando Solar Bears were awarded with a light week on the ECHL schedule, only playing two contests against the Everblades and South Carolina.
With the reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Week repeating his title, and the top line coming through yet again, the team took 3 out of 4 points on the week and moved into third place in the shortened Eastern Conference race.
Back-to-Back for Windsor
For the second straight week, goaltender Clint Windsor was named the Warrior Hockey/ECHL Goaltender of the Week. In Orlando’s three-game sweep of Florida last weekend, he went 2-0 with a 1.01 GAA and .973 save percentage, and picked up his first shutout of the season.
-Rookie goaltender Michael Lackey was picked up by Hartford on a PTO.
-Forward Alan Lyszczarcyk, who had not appeared in a game since February 27th, was dealt to Tulsa for future considerations.
-Orlando signed rookie defenseman Jordan Schneider to a standard contract. He joins the Solar Bears after completing a four-year collegiate career at Clarkson. In his senior season of 2019-20, the Toronto native appeared in 34 games with 7 assists.
The Solar Bears looked for their fifth straight win on home ice, as they hosted the Stingrays in a rare Tuesday night matchup.
With Kevin Lohan returning from the IR tonight, we're going with 10 forwards and seven on the blue line against the Stingrays!— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) March 9, 2021
via @flohockey — https://t.co/g5aLHteZt7
https://t.co/fV1V8a4GnZ / https://t.co/ov8kK302BP#BEARLIEVE | #ORLvsSC pic.twitter.com/Si5ITThtcG
Despite being outshot 13-5, the Solar Bears jumped ahead in the first with a pair of goals against South Carolina goalie Alex Dubeau. Just seconds after exiting the penalty box, Tristin Langan picked up the puck off a turnover, dashed past a diving Dubeau, and sent the puck into an empty net for his 9th goal of the season for a 1-0 lead.
Defense turns to offense as Tristin Langan exits the box and puts the puck home past the roaming goalie for his ninth of the season! pic.twitter.com/nd0Qsf8C6g— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) March 10, 2021
J.J. Piccinich doubled the Orlando lead with 8:22 remaining in the opening frame with his 4th of the season.
The Stingrays cut the lead in half 8:43 into the second on a Caleb Herbert goal. However, the Solar Bears sealed the win late in the third with a pair of goals 1:42 apart from Tyler Bird (5th) and Tad Kozun (2nd into an empty net).
Windsor won his fifth straight start, stopping 25 of 26 and picking up first star honors. Five Bears picked up one assist. Orlando extended their point streak to seven games.
For the last time in the regular season, the Solar Bears traveled south to Estero.
Looking to leave our final visit to Estero this season with two points!— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) March 13, 2021
via @flohockey — https://t.co/g5aLHtwARH
https://t.co/fV1V8amhMz / https://t.co/ov8kK3hE0p#BEARLIEVE | #ORLatFLA pic.twitter.com/325fuPjjLf
The teams exchanged goals in the opening 20 minutes. Aaron Luchuk scored his 9th of the season at the 14:09 mark for a 1-0 Orlando lead. Michael Huntebrinker tied the game at 1 with a power play goal with 2:15 remaining in the first.
Luchuk gave the Solar Bears a 2-1 lead early in the second with his second of the evening.
Florida tied the game at 2 with another power play goal with just under five minutes remaining in regulation. It was on to overtime for the fourth time in 17 matchups this season, where after seven minutes and 10 combined shots, the teams needed a shootout to determine a winner.
Blake Winiecki and Langan failed to connect in round 1. Huntebrinker scored on Windsor in round 2, while Luchuk was denied. Myles Powell then scored in the third round to give Florida the win and the extra point.
Windsor finished with 32 saves on 34 shots. Mark Auk added his 22nd assist of the season, good for second among all ECHL defensemen. Langan added two helpers. Orlando extended their point streak to 8 games (6-0-1-1).
This Week’s Schedule:
After a light week, the Solar Bears take on a 5 games in 7 days stretch.
It starts tonight at home against Florida. Orlando then heads to Jacksonville for a pair on Wednesday and Friday. After returning home Saturday to host the Icemen, Orlando then heads north to Jacksonville for a Sunday afternoon matchup.