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Solar Bears Den: A Point to Start

Orlando begins the regular season with a pair of losses.

Fernando Medina

With a new coach and a refreshed roster, the Orlando Solar Bears set off on the maiden voyage of their 2022-23 ECHL season, looking to get off to a good start with a pair of games against South Division rival Jacksonville.

Despite some good goaltending and a fair showing on offense, the team managed just one out of four points on the weekend.

Before we begin the weekend that was, let’s first introduce you to this year’s team captains!

Saturday 10/22: Jacksonville 5, Orlando 2

The 2022-23 season began up north in Jacksonville on Saturday as the Solar Bears and Icemen kicked off a home-and-home set.

Jacksonville got off to a hot start against the Bears in the first, scoring twice in the first 6:25 of the contest with tallies from Victor Hadfield and Alex Whelan. Orlando rallied to tie the game midway through the period, as Michael Brodzinski and Dmitry Semykin had goals 34 seconds apart.

Jacksonville regained the lead with 6:37 remaining in the period with a goal from Christopher Brown.

After a scoreless middle frame, the Icemen sealed the win late in the third with a pair of goals from Ara Nazarian and Brandon Fortunato.

Jack Lafontaine stopped 32 of 36 shots in defeat. Four Bears skaters had one assist each.

Sunday, 10/23: Jacksonville 2, Orlando 1 (OT)

Less than 24 hours later, the Solar Bears and Icemen met again, this time at the Amway Center as Orlando kicked off their home schedule.

The first 40 minutes featured a goaltending duel between Orlando’s Brad Barone and Jacksonville’s Parker Gahagen, as the two netminders combined for 47 saves. However, there was some action in the first, as Semykin took on the Icemen’s Travis Howe:

Jacksonville broke the scoreless tie 1:46 into the third off a Louka Henault goal. Orlando tied things up at 1 with 2:23 to go in regulation on Shawn Szydlowski’s first goal as a Bear.

The late goal pushed the game into overtime, giving Orlando their first point of the season. However, it would be the only one, as Whelan scored the game-winner midway through the extra frame to give Jacksonville the win and the weekend sweep.

Barone stopped 42 of 44 shots in a hard luck loss.

Upcoming:

Orlando has a pair of home games to close out October, hosting Jacksonville again on Wednesday, then Atlanta on Sunday afternoon.