After closing out the month of November with a huge overtime win, the Orlando Solar Bears looked to continue that momentum into December, as the month started with a 3-in-3 stretch.
With the goaltending situation back to normal after an injury scare in Syracuse, and some timely scoring, the team extended their point streak to 5 games as the season passed the first quarter-mark.
-After spending five days in Syracuse backing up Max Lagace, goaltender Jack LaFontaine was reassigned to Orlando on Tuesday.
-With Alex Barre-Boulet and Cole Koepke returning to the Crunch lineup, rookie forward Bennett MacArthur was reassigned to Orlando prior to Thursday’s game. He had appeared in four games for Syracuse, going scoreless.
Orlando started their December schedule by hosting a non-South opponent, the Central Division’s Wings.
The visitors got off to a quick start, taking a 1-0 lead 2:46 into the contest. Orlando tied the game up at 1 at the 6:22 mark, as MacArthur, making his Solar Bears debut, assisted on Joe Carroll’s 7th goal of the season and earned his first professional point.
Kalamazoo took a 2-1 lead with 2:06 remaining in the first on a goal from Daniel D’Amico.
The teams exchanged goals in the second. Mathieu Foget, who recently returned for his second tour of duty in Orlando, scored his first on a power play for a 2-2 tie.
The Wings jumped back up by a goal with 2:44 to go in the period on a power play goal from Chad Nychuk.
Orlando was not done, however, as they once again tied the game 2:33 into the third on a power play goal from Shawn Szydlowski, his 5th of the year.
For the second straight game, Orlando went to overtime, but once again the pendulum swung back the other way. D’Amico’s second goal of the game just 36 seconds into the extra frame gave the Wings the win.
Brad Barone stopped 21 of 25 shots in the overtime loss. Michael Brodzinski had two assists.
The Solar Bears kicked off a five-game road swing on Friday, with the first stop Savannah to take on the Ghost Pirates.
But before they boarded the bus, how about some good dog scratches for luck?
Best way to start a road trip? With dog cuddles..— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) December 2, 2022
It was Nickelodeon Night in Savannah, and the Ghost Pirates naturally sported SpongeBob jerseys for the occasion.
The best time to wear a hockey sweater is all the time pic.twitter.com/NuV3KNRMEk— Savannah Ghost Pirates (@SavGhostPirates) December 2, 2022
That was probably the lone highlight for the hosts on this night, because this game was all Orlando from the beginning.
The Solar Bears put this one away quickly with three goals in the first period. Carroll got things started at the 6:36 mark with his 8th of the season.
Foget scored twice in a span of 8 and a half minutes to triple the Solar Bears lead.
Ross Olsson finished off the scoring with 3:19 remaining in the second, picking up his 6th for a 4-0 lead.
LaFontaine took care of the rest, stopping all 28 shots for his first shutout in a Solar Bears sweater. Olsson and 7 others added assists.
The bus rolled back into Florida on Saturday, as the Solar Bears met up with their instate friends the Icemen.
After a scoreless first, Derek Lodermeier gave Jacksonville a 1-0 lead—and an excuse for fans to throw things, as it was Teddy Bear Toss night. (Reminder to Orlando fans, the Solar Bears will have theirs December 16th.)
Once the furry friends were cleared from the ice, Orlando came back with a pair of goals to jump out front. Tyler Bird tied the game at 1 at the 4:43 mark with his fourth of the season. (And extra points for the celebration.)
Bird evens the scores with the tip-in. pic.twitter.com/rSmW3BfLOj— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) December 4, 2022
Andrew Sturtz put Orlando ahead 2-1 with exactly two minutes remaining in the period with his 6th on a very good breakaway play.
Just as Orlando figured they may pull out the one-goal win, the Icemen had other plans. Lodermeier scored his second of the evening with 1:43 to go in regulation for a 2-2 tie. It was on to overtime, where for the second time in 3 days the Solar Bears found themselves with just one point to show for their efforts. Jacob Panetta scored the game winner 1:58 into the extra period to give the Icemen a comeback win.
LaFontaine stopped 33 of 36 shots. Three skaters had one assist each.
But the most important stat of the evening? Neither team had a single player spend any time in the penalty box, which in this league is no easy feat.
The road trip heads back to Georgia, as Orlando and Atlanta will face off in a two-game set on Friday and Saturday.