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Solar Bears Den: Stung on the Road

Orlando’s offense dries up over a 3-in-3 weekend.

Fernando Medina/Orlando Solar Bears

After picking up a pair of divisional wins last week, the Orlando Solar Bears embarked on a busy four-game week, all against South Division foes.

It started off on a high note, but then the team hit a wall during a 3-in-3 road swing through Georgia and South Carolina, as a lack of offense led to just one point on the trip.

Tuesday 11/15: Orlando 3, South Carolina 0

A busy week began on Tuesday, as the Solar Bears played host to the Stingrays.

Eight seconds into Orlando’s first power play of the evening, Joe Carroll connected for his fourth goal of the season for a 1-0 lead.

After a scoreless second, Orlando put the game away late in the third, despite having just three shots on goal in the final 20 minutes. Ross Olsson scored on a power play with 5:57 remaining in regulation to double the Solar Bears lead.

Tyler Bird scored his third of the season into an empty net with 22 seconds remaining to seal the Solar Bears victory.

In just his third start of the year, Brad Barone took care of the rest, stopping all 30 shots for his first win and shutout of the season. Michael Brodzinski added two assists.

Friday 11/18: Savannah 2, Orlando 1 (SO)

Orlando hit the road for a 3-in-3 weekend, making their first ever visit to Savannah on Friday to face the expansion Ghost Pirates.

After a scoreless first, the teams exchanged goals in the second. Shawn Szydlowski scored his fourth goal of the season at the 7:37 mark to put Orlando ahead 1-0.

The Ghost Pirates tied the game at 1 on a power play goal from Vincent Marleau.

The score remained deadlocked through regulation and overtime, leading to the Solar Bears’ first shootout of the season. In the bonus round, Carroll was the only Bear to connect, while Savannah took the extra point with two goals on three chances against Barone.

The shootout was the only blemish on an otherwise strong evening for Barone, who stopped a season high 48 shots. Jaydon Dureau and Tristin Langan had the lone assists.

Saturday 11/19: South Carolina 5, Orlando 1

The road trip headed north into Charleston, as the Solar Bears and Stingrays faced off for the first of two.

This game was all South Carolina from the start, as they dropped three goals in the first against Jack LaFontaine. The Stingrays grabbed a 2-0 lead in a span of 1:40 midway through the period off goals from Bear Hughes (you may remember him as the kid with the hat trick the last time Orlando was in Charleston) and Tarek Baker (shorthanded). Kevin O’Neil made it 3-0 with 1:52 remaining in the period with a power play tally.

The Stingrays continued the onslaught in the second, making it 4-0 on another power play goal. Orlando finally broke through with the man advantage late in the second, as Brodzinski scored his third to cut the lead to 4-1.

South Carolina added a third power play goal midway through the third to restore their four-goal lead and finish off a not-so-great night for Solar Bears’ special teams. The two teams also combined for 99 penalty minutes, a majority on the Stingrays’ side after a second period incident where Orlando forward Chris Ordoobadi earned misconduct for inciting, and a second round late in the third.

LaFontaine finished with 35 saves on 40 shots.

Sunday 11/20: South Carolina 3, Orlando 1

Less than 24 hours later, Orlando looked to get a two-game split and finish the week on a positive note.

Unlike the night before, Orlando managed to escape the opening period without giving up any goals. The Stingrays snagged a 1-0 lead with 6:16 remaining in the second on a Ryan Scarfo goal, which prompted...this.

As part of what South Carolina calls Undie Sunday, fans throw underwear onto the ice after the first Stingrays goal, kind of like a Teddy Bear Toss. But it’s for a good cause—all the packages will be donated to One80 Place, an organization in the Charleston area that aims to prevent homelessness.

Back to game action, where the Stingrays lead lasted all of 1:27. Maxim Cajkovic scored his first goal of the season with a sweet breakaway play to tie the game at 1.

South Carolina jumped back in front for good in the final 20 minutes. A power play goal from Kevin O’Neil at the 3:55 mark put the Stingrays back up by one. Anthony Del Gaizo added an insurance goal less than 3 minutes later for a 3-1 lead. Despite outshooting South Carolina 21-7 in the third, the Solar Bears were unable to make up the deficit.

Barone stopped 36 of 39 shots in defeat.

Upcoming:

Orlando returns home for three games over the Thanksgiving holiday, hosting Greenville on Wednesday and Thursday (note a special 12 noon start time), and Florida on Saturday.