Gladiators Goal in Final Three Seconds Sends Solar Bears to 4-3 Loss
DULUTH, Ga. - The Orlando Solar Bears (22-18-3-0) twice battled back from deficits to tie the score, but a goal with three seconds left in regulation spoiled the team's chances to secure at least a point in a 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Gladiators (16-19-6-1) on Saturday night at Infinite Energy Arena.
The Gladiators established a 2-0 lead in the first period as Nick Bligh netted a power-play goal at 7:46 to open the scoring, and Joseph Widmar beat Martin Ouellette at 18:25 to extend Atlanta's lead by a pair of goals.
The Solar Bears responded with two goals in the second to even the score.
Mike Robinson got Orlando on the board as he snapped a shot from the right circle past Sean Bonar at 2:26 for his third of the season.
Chris LeBlanc then tied the game at 2-2 with a power-play goal at 17:53 when he deflected Matthew Spencer's shot from the left point past Bonar for his sixth of the season.
The Gladiators pulled ahead again in the third period at 12:26 when a turnover in the Orlando zone led to Brian Cooper beating Ouellette with a shot from the point that glanced off the goalie's glove and into the net.
With Ouellette pulled for an extra skater late in the frame, the Solar Bears tied the score at 3-3 when Alex Schoenborn banked the puck in from behind the net past Bonar at 18:46.
The Solar Bears were forced to play on the penalty kill with 23 seconds left in the game when Mike Monfredo was assessed a cross-checking minor, and Widmar squeaked his second of the night past Ouellette at 19:57 to put Atlanta ahead for good.
Ouellette took the loss with 29 saves on 33 shots against; Bonar picked up the win with 27 stops on 30 shots against.
1) Joseph Widmar - ATL
2) Nick Bligh - ATL
3) Chris LeBlanc - ORL
The Solar Bears finished their season-high nine-game road trip with a 5-4-0-0 record, and are 13-8-3-0 away from home for the season. Orlando's 29 points on the road are tied for the third-most of any ECHL club.
Orlando still leads the Gladiators in the regular season series with a 4-2-0-0 record, with three games remaining. The two teams meet again on Thursday, March 21 at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.
Colby McAuley's assist on Robinson's goal extends his point streak to seven games (3g-7a).
NEXT GAMES: The Solar Bears return home to host the Jacksonville Icemen on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. for a Wine Down Wednesday. Fans can take advantage of $5 wine specials during the game.
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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.
2018-19 Single-Game Tickets Now on Sale:
Single-game tickets for the Orlando Solar Bears 2018-19 regular season home schedule are now on sale. Fans can purchase single-game tickets for as little as $15 at the Amway Center box office, or online at Ticketmaster.com.
2018-19 Season Ticket Memberships:
Season Ticket Memberships for the seventh season of ECHL Orlando Solar Bears hockey are now on sale. Full and Half-Season memberships are both available, starting as low as $270. For more information, call (407) 951-8200 or visit orlandosolarbearshockey.com.
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