Fitze, Tufto Help Solar Bears Hammer Nailers, 6-2
ORLANDO, Fla. - Dylan Fitze broke out with his first career hat trick, and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Odeen Tufto recorded a goal and two assists for his first pro points as the Orlando Solar Bears (18-12-1-0) topped the Wheeling Nailers (15-14-1-0) in a 6-2 win on Friday night at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center, extending Orlando's win streak to a season-high five games.
Fitze started his banner night by getting Orlando on the board late in the first period with a power-play strike that tied the game at 1-1. Fitze broke a 2-2 tie early in the third period to get his second of the night, then beat Stefanos Lekkas with 15 seconds remaining in the game to cap the scoring for the Solar Bears and achieve his first three-goal performance.
Tufto assisted on both of Orlando's two power-play goals, then added his first career tally late in the third period to make it 4-2.
Tyler Bird and Michael Brodzinski also scored for the Solar Bears, and Tristin Langan turned in three assists.
Amir Miftakhov made 28 saves for his first career ECHL win.
WHL Goal: Justin Almeida (12) at 14:36.
ORL Goal: Dylan Fitze (2) [PP] at 18:14. Assisted by Tristin Langan and Odeen Tufto.
SHOTS: ORL 12, WHL 9
ORL Goal: Tyler Bird (7) [PP] at 5:52. Assisted by Odeen Tufto and Michael Brodzinski.
WHL Goal: Tim Doherty (4) [SH] at 11:03. Assisted by Josh Maniscalo.
SHOTS: ORL 5, WHL 9
ORL Goal: Dylan Fitze (3) at 5:42. Assisted by Tristin Langan and Kevin Lohan.
ORL Goal: Odeen Tufto (1) at 15:46. Assisted by Tristin Langan.
ORL Goal: Michael Brodzinski (6) [EN] at 19:34.
ORL Goal: Dylan Fitze (4) at 19:45. Assisted by Ian Parker and Dmitry Semykin.
SHOTS: ORL 12, WHL 12
ORL: Amir Miftakhov, 28-for-30
WHL: Stefanos Lekkas, 18-for-20
The win marked Orlando's first victory on home ice (1-2-0-0) when surrendering the first goal of the game.
The Solar Bears continued their stretch of scoring at least one goal in the first period to their last five games; Orlando is now 15-3-1-0 when scoring a goal in the opening frame.
Orlando improved to 12-0-0-0 when allowing two or fewer goals.
Langan now has a five-game assist streak; he has 10 assists in that span dating back to Dec. 29 at Florida.
Fitze's hat trick was Orlando's second hat trick of the season (Aaron Luchuk; Oct. 31 vs. Jacksonville), and his first multi-goal game since April 7, 2019.
Brodzinski and Fitze scored 11 seconds apart, setting a new season record for the fastest pair of goals, breaking the mark of 17 seconds set on Jan. 10 vs. South Carolina.
NEXT GAME: The Solar Bears host the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center. The Solar Bears will also host their 10th anniversary season Celebrity Classic at 1:30 p.m., featuring several Solar Bears alumni.
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