Game Preview: Solar Bears vs. Gladiators
WHO: Orlando Solar Bears vs. Atlanta Gladiators
VENUE: Jewett Orthopaedic Rink at Amway Center, Orlando, Fla.
DATE: Friday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.
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TONIGHT: The Orlando Solar Bears (7-9-3-1) take on the Atlanta Gladiators (9-9-0-0) for the first time out of 11 total meetings this season. Both teams are tied with 18 points, although Atlanta owns the higher seed in the South Division due to tie-breaking procedures. Orlando won the regular season series last season with a 6-3-0-0 record in nine matches against Atlanta. The Solar Bears own a lifetime 34-26-4-4 record against the Gladiators.
MCAULEY FINDING OFFENSIVE GROOVE: Since Nov. 1, Colby McAuley has led Orlando with eight points (1g-7a) over 14 games. The forward's seven assists also led Orlando over that span, and he has recorded five assists over his previous five contests.
HUNTINGTON RETURNS: Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Jimmy Huntington was assigned to Orlando yesterday afternoon from the American Hockey League and will skate in his fourth game with Orlando this season tonight, playing on a line with Chris LeBlanc and Trevor Olson. The rookie forward has three points (1g-2a) in three games for the Solar Bears this season.
WINDSOR STARTS: After Zachary Fucale picked up the win for the Solar Bears on Thursday, the netminding duties will fall to Clint Windsor for tonight's game against Atlanta. Windsor has made six straight appearances with 31+ saves, and is coming off a 35-save performance against South Carolina on Saturday. Last season, Windsor went 1-1-0 against Atlanta in two appearances with a 2.54 goals-against average and a save percentage of .934.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: The Gladiators are 5-5-0-0 over their last 10 games but are in the midst of a two-game losing streak. Goaltender Martin Ouellette, who won 18 games with the Solar Bears last season while on loan from the Syracuse Crunch, signed an ECHL contract with the Gladiators at the start of the season. Former Solar Bears on Atlanta's roster also include goaltender Sean Bonar (2014-15) and Logan Nelson (2017-18).
Orlando host the Gladiators again on Saturday, Dec. 7. at 7 p.m. Saturday's game is also our annual Teddy Bear Toss game - fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used teddy bears or stuffed animals to be thrown onto the ice when the Solar Bears score their first goal of the game.
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