Comeback Attempt Comes up Short as Solar Bears Fall to Fuel, 5-3
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Solar Bears (22-20-2-4), proud affiliate of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL's Toronto Marlies, were unable to rally from a slow start as they fell to the Indy Fuel (25-25-2-0) by a 5-3 score in front of 4,658 on Wednesday night at the Amway Center.
The Fuel raced out to a 2-0 lead through the first period, as Brandon Wong beat Ryan Massa at 10:42, and Alex Lavoie added a power-play goal for Indy at 16:09.
Wong continued his torrid play for the visitors in the middle frame, helping set up Rhet Bly's power-play marker at 7:19, prompting the Solar Bears to replace Massa with Rob Madore in net. Lavoie added his second goal of the game shortly afterwards at 9:05, and Wong tallied his second goal and fourth point of the night at 15:45 to make it 5-0.
The Solar Bears spoiled Shane Owen's shutout bid late in the second period when Johnny McInnis deflected Brenden Miller's shot from the left point past the goalie at 19:05.
Orlando continued its attempt at a comeback when Brady Vail scored early in the third period off a feed from Patrick Watling at 3:32 and again on the power play at 19:18, but by then there was too little time remaining to close the 5-3 gap.
Madore took the loss with 16 saves on 18 shots against in 30:09 of relief work; Owen picked up the win with 32 stops on 35 shots against.
Eric Faille's secondary assist on Vail's first goal was the forward's 50th point of the season with the Solar Bears (19g-31a), making him just the fourth player in ECHL Solar Bears history to reach the half century mark, joining Mickey Lang, Jacob Cepis (twice) and Denver Manderson.
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