Solar Bears Week in Review: The wrong end of the rally

Orlando gets another roster shakeup, then can’t hold a lead against Florida. Twice.

After a disastrous loss to South Carolina on Sunday, the Orlando Solar Bears did not have much time to dwell over the contest, as they began a three-game week less than 48 hours later. What could have been a possible perfect 3-0 week turned into a 1-1-1 week, as the defense blew not one, but two leads in Florida in a three-day span.

Roster Moves:

Another week, another roster shakeup for the Solar Bears.

-On Monday, goaltender Zachary Fucale was recalled to Syracuse after Scott Wedgewood joined the Lightning in Sweden as a third goaltender.  To replace Fucale on the roster, Kevin Entmaa was brought in from Macon of the SPHL to back up Clint Windsor.  Additionally, rookie forward Jake Jackson, who had appeared in two games with one goal, was released.

-After appearing in three games, with two assists, forward Peter Abbandonato was recalled to Syracuse on Thursday.

-Prior to Friday’s game in Estero, San Jose recalled forward Artem Ivanyuzhenkov.

Tuesday, 11/5: Orlando 2, Jacksonville 1

It was an early wake up call for the Solar Bears and the Icemen on Tuesday, as Orlando held its annual school day game, with a 10:30 AM puck drop.

Orlando found their way onto the scoresheet first, as Tyler Bird’s first of the season at the 8:25 mark put the hosts up 1-0.

After a scoreless second period, the Solar Bears added an insurance goal in the third, as Hunter Fejes scored his second of the season for a 2-0 Orlando lead.

That second goal would prove to be very important, as the IceMen scored with 35 seconds remaining in regulation to cut the lead in half to 2-1.  However, that was all they were able to come up with, and Orlando held on for their third win of the season.

Windsor, in his second start since returning to the roster, picked up his first win of the season in net, stopping 32 of 33 shots.  Three Solar Bear skaters had one assist each.

A Solar Bears record crowd of 11,318 was on hand, marking the highest attendance figure for an ECHL contest so far this season.

3 Stars:

3. Colby McAuley (ORL) 1 assist

2. Tyler Bird (ORL) 1 goal

1. Clint Windsor (ORL) 32 saves

Let’s go to the Solar Bears locker room for some post game comments.

Wednesday, 11/6: Florida 3, Orlando 2

The Solar Bears headed south on Wednesday, visiting the Everblades for the first of three straight matchups at Hertz Arena in Estero.

The visitors got off to a good start with a goal in the first period.  Michael Brodzinski picked up his first of the season with 2:28 remaining in the opening frame for a 1-0 lead.  Mikhail Shalagin then scored his first ECHL goal 5:43 into the second for a 2-0 Orlando lead.

Then everything turned in the other direction.

The Everblades cut the Solar Bears lead in half with 1:57 remaining in the second on a John McCarron goal.  That one-goal lead would vanish in a span of 34 seconds late in the third, as Ben Masella and Justin Auger connected to turn a possible close win for Orlando into a victory for Florida.

Windsor stopped 35 of 38 shots in defeat.

3 Stars:

3. Cam Johnson (FLA) 26 saves

2. Ben Masella (FLA) 1 goal, 1 assist

1. John McCarron (FLA) 1 goal, 2 assists

Friday, 11/8: Florida 2, Orlando 1 (OT)

Two days later, Orlando looked to rebound in game 2 of the three game set.

After a scoreless opening period, rookie Tristan Langan scored his first goal 14 seconds into the second for a 1-0 Solar Bears lead.  Once again, Florida rallied in the third, tying the game up with 10:55 remaining in regulation on a Michael Huntebrinker goal.  The Solar Bears simply did not have an answer in the final period, as they only managed 3 shots on goal against Everblades goaltender Ken Appleby.

The game moved into overtime, where once again Florida finished off a comeback.  Blake  Winiecki scored the game winner with 49 seconds remaining to give the Everblades their second straight win over Orlando.

Windsor finished with 39 saves on 41 shots.

3 Stars:

3. Ken Appleby (FLA) 21 saves

2. Michael Huntebrinker (FLA) 1 goal

1. Blake Winiecki (FLA) GW OT goal

This Week:

Orlando will try to prevent a three game sweep by the Everblades on Wednesday night with one more game in Estero.  The two teams then head to the Amway Center on Thursday. The Solar Bears finish the week with a trip north to Jacksonville to face the Icemen on Saturday.