Fitze Powers Solar Bears Past IceMen in 5-2 Win
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Solar Bears (41-25-5-1) scored a season-high four goals in the second period and to defeat the Jacksonville Icemen (36-32-2-2) by a final score of 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.
The Solar Bears fell behind early in the first period when Kris Newbury flew into the Orlando zone and blasted a shot from the left circle past Connor Ingram just 26 seconds into the contest.
Ingram prevented the Icemen from extending the lead to two goals with a highlight-reel glove save on Alexei D'Aoust at the 6:14 mark as he went post-to-post to rob the Jacksonville sniper.
Dylan Fitze tied the score at 1-1 at 8:47 with a power-play goal when Akim Aliu poked the loose puck ahead to Fitze at the left circle, and the forward snapped a shot past Angus Redmond for his 13th of the season.
Fitze pulled Orlando ahead with another power-play tally at 1:41 of the second period, as the rookie flipped an Alexei Lipanov rebound over the blocker of Redmond to make it 2-1.
The Solar Bears widened the lead when Troy Bourke fired a shot from the left circle that initially was stopped by Redmond. As the goaltender looked behind his body, Redmond failed to notice the loose puck between his pads, which was jammed into the net by Colby McAuley at 10:48 to make it 3-1 and give McAuley his 15th of the season.
Michael Brodzinski made it 4-1 with his ninth of the season at 12:06 of the frame, as the defenseman let a snap shot fly from the left point past Redmond.
Alexander Kuqali capped the scoring for Orlando when Chris LeBlanc baited Redmond in the slot and flipped a backhand pass to the defenseman at the side of the net, allowing Kuqali to hammer in his third of the season at 13:21.
Jacksonville attempted a late rally in the third period as Hayden Shaw sent a pass up through the neutral zone to Garet Hunt for a breakaway, and the Icemen captain buried a power-play goal past Ingram at 14:01, but Orlando would hold Jacksonville off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Ingram picked up the win with 30 saves on 32 shots against; Redmond took the loss with 32 stops on 37 shots against.
1) Dylan Fitze - ORL
2) Connor Ingram - ORL
3) Colby McAuley - ORL
Orlando's 41 wins and 88 points represented the second-largest totals by the team in a single season since the 2013-14 squad went 43-24-2-3 (91 points). The Solar Bears' 21 wins and 44 points achieved on home ice this season also represented the second-best totals in franchise history, following the team's performance in the 2013-14 campaign (24-9-2-1; 51 points). Orlando finished the regular season series against Jacksonville with a 10-2-0-0 record. The Solar Bears remain a perfect lifetime 11-0-0-0 on home ice against the Icemen. The Solar Bears' previous season-high for goals in the second period was three, which had occurred in 11 previous instances. The four goals scored by Orlando in the second also matched the season-high for goals in any particular period, as the Solar Bears had previously scored four in the third frame against the Florida Everblades on Feb. 27 and March 1. Bourke finished the day with two assists, giving him his team-leading 13th multi-point game of the season. Fitze's second goal was the game-winner, his fourth of the season, tying fellow rookie Trevor Olson for the team lead in game-winning goals for the 2018-19 campaign.
Home Ice Clinched for Opening Round of Playoffs:
The Solar Bears have clinched home ice advantage for the first round of the 2019 Playoffs, presented by XYMOPrint. Although the Solar Bears' opponent in the opening round still has yet to be determined, Orlando will host Game 1 of the South Division Semifinals on Wednesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. and Game 2 on Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m. Tickets are now on sale for both games, to purchase visit ticketmaster.com or the Amway Center box office to get your tickets today!
2019-20 Season Ticket Memberships on Sale Now:
Upgrade to Solar Status and become a Season Ticket Member today. Season ticket memberships for the 2019-20 season are now on sale and start as little as $270.
2018-19 Season Presented by XYMOPrint:
The Orlando Solar Bears are proud to have local digital printing experts XYMOPrint as the presenting sponsor of the 2018-19 season. As a special offer, fans who call XYMOPrint at (888) 223-9390 from now until June 15, 2019 and reference the Solar Bears will receive 30% off their first order of 500 business cards.
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