Solar Bears Den: On the Comeback Trail

Orlando begins February with a week of rallying back.

It’s February, and you know what that’s bad Valentine's puns time!

It was also a big week for the Orlando Solar Bears, who needed the power of the rally several times this week to take 2 out of 3 against their South Division rivals.

Wednesday, 2/1: Jacksonville 5, Orlando 4 (OT)

The month of February began in Jacksonville, as the Solar Bears paid a visit to the Icemen on Wednesday evening.

The teams exchanged goals in the opening 20 minutes. Ross Olsson got the visitors on the bard 4:57 into the game with a power play goal, his 16th of the season.

Christopher Brown’s 14th of the season with 5:47 to go in the first time tied at the game for the hosts.

The Icemen appeared to have put this one away in the second, scoring twice in the first 6:31 of the period to go up 3-1.

Orlando was not about to go away, however. Hunter Fejes cut the deficit to 3-2 at the 7:00 mark of the third with his 7th of the season.

Jacksonville quickly responded with a Luke Lynch goal just 10 seconds later to restore the two-goal advantage.

Orlando rallied with under three minutes remaining in regulation, getting goals from Olsson and Joe Carroll 10 seconds apart for a 4-4 tie.

Carroll would take a costly slashing call with 41 seconds remaining in regulation, with a Jacksonville power play carrying over into overtime. Derek Lodermeier made sure Orlando’s rally was halted, getting the game-winner 1:13 in for an Icemen victory.

Garret Sparks made his first Solar Bear start since the 2020-21 season, stopping 25 of 30 in defeat.

Friday, 2/3: Orlando 7, Savannah 6 (SO)

Orlando headed back into Georgia on Friday evening, as they paid a visit to the Ghost Pirates.

Before we begin, let’s just take a moment to admire the specialty jerseys Savannah sported for this one, as they held Hockey Fights Cancer night.

Before most of the crowd had probably settled in, Olsson scored his third goal in two games, putting Orlando up 1-0 just 25 seconds after puck drop.

The Ghost Pirates stormed back with a pair of goals from Daniel D’Amato and Connor Corcoran to take a 2-1 lead with 7:10 remaining in the first. Orlando responded 42 seconds later with a Tyson Feist tally to tie the game at 2.

The game became a seesaw battle for the next two periods. Corcoran scored his second of the night at the 46 second mark of the middle frame to put the hosts back up by one. Mathieu Foget responded with his 8th of the season at the 6:17 mark to re-tie the contest.

Mason Primeau scored on a power play with 7:22 remaining in the period for a 4-3 Savannah lead, chasing Jack LaFontaine out of the net in favor of Sparks. The goalie change may have helped, as Branden Makara scored his first in an Orlando uniform 4:01 later for a 4-4 deadlock.

The third period was a near carbon copy of the second, as a Vincent Marleau goal 26 seconds in put Savannah back up by a goal. Carroll responded with his 11th at the 8:33 mark for a 5-5 tie.

Savannah again regained a one-goal lead at the 10:18 mark on Primeau’s second of the night, only to have Carroll respond with his second of the game on a power play with 5:03 remaining in regulation for a 6-6 tie.

It was only fitting that this contest would end up needing a shootout to determine a winner. Fejes was the only skater on either side to connect in the bonus round, giving the Solar Bears one of their craziest wins of the season.

LaFontaine stopped 12 of 16 shots in just under 33 minutes before exiting. Sparks got the win, stopping 13 of 15. Four Solar Bear skaters had two assists each.

Saturday, 2/4: Orlando 5, Florida 4 (OT)

The Solar Bears returned to the Amway Center on Saturday evening, playing host to the Everblades.

It was Tie Dye night, and the team wore these fantastic jerseys.

If jerseys aren’t your thing, you can also get a T-shirt or hoodie!

Included in Tie Dye Night was a Guinness World Record attempt for the most people wearing tie dye in one location.

On to the game itself, where Orlando jumped ahead 1-0 13:34 into the opening period on Tristin Langan’s 12th of the season.

The Everblades tied the game at one 3:17 into the second on a Cam Darcy goal. Levko Koper’s 8th goal at the 10:42 mark put Florida up 2-1, but Langan re-tied the game just under two minutes later with his second of the night.

Blake Winiecki put the Everblades back up 3-2 with 4:52 remaining in the second, and for the second night in a row, LaFontaine exited the contest in favor of Sparks. Also for the second night in a row, it may have helped the Solar Bears, as Shawn Szydlowski’s 11th on a power play with 1:32 remaining in the period tied the game at 3-all.

Florida took a 4-3 lead with 7:32 remaining in regulation on a Joe Pendenza goal...only to have Szydlowski answer that with his second of the evening with 4:47 remaining for a 4-4 tie.

For the third straight game, Orlando was off to overtime, where Carroll sent everyone home happy with the game winner with 1:50 remaining for the victory.

LaFontaine stopped 26 of 29 shots in 35 minutes before exiting. Sparks picked up the win in relief, stopping 12 of 13. Michael Brodzinski added three helpers.

Orlando set an ECHL season high with 58 shots on goal. Unfortunately, they fell short for Guinness, but a record was still set.


Orlando heads south to Estero for a pair of games against the Everblades on Friday and Saturday.