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SKAPSKI, DZIERKALS LIFT SOLAR BEARS PAST GLADIATORS

January 29, 2018 - ECHL (ECHL) - Orlando Solar Bears News Release

DULUTH, Ga. - Martins Dzierkals' second-period goal stood up as the eventual game-winning tally as the Orlando Solar Bears (19-19-5-1) raced out to a four-goal lead before holding on for a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Gladiators (22-22-1-2) on Sunday afternoon at Infinite Energy Arena.

The victory marked the first win of the season for Orlando over the Gladiators, and helps the Solar Bears close the gap on Atlanta for third place in the South Division to three points; Orlando has three games in hand on the Gladiators. Orlando maintains its positioning of two points ahead of fifth-place Greenville, following the Swamp Rabbits' 4-2 win today at Jacksonville.

SCORING SUMMARY - Orlando: Chris Crane (Hunter Fejes), Joshua Winquist (Chris LeBlanc, Joe Perry), Fejes [PP] (J.J. Piccinich), Martins Dzierkals (Winquist, Adam Phillips) Goaltender: Mackenzie Skapski (35/38)

Atlanta: Ben Danford [PP] (Phil Lane, Derek Nesbitt), Taylor Doherty [PP] (Danford, Lindsay Sparks), Sparks (Tanner Pond, Doherty) Goaltender: Sean Bonar (12/16), Dan Vladar (10/10)

ON THE SCORESHEET: Chris Crane netted his ninth of the season to opening the scoring at 11:47 of the first period when Hunter Fejes stole the puck from Taylor Doherty in the left corner and found Crane, who snapped a shot past Sean Bonar. Joshua Winquist tallied his 15th goal of the season when he one-timed a shot past Bonar at 14:26 of the first period off a pass from Chris LeBlanc. Winquist also earned an assist on Martins Dzierkals' goal, giving the forward his team-leading ninth multi-point outing of the season. Chris LeBlanc helped set up Winquist's goal with a highlight-reel drive to the net, earning his fourth assist of the season for his effort. Joe Perry picked up the secondary assist on Winquist's goal, as the forward celebrated his 200th career pro game. Hunter Fejes buried a power-play goal for the Solar Bears at 16:19 of the first period as J.J. Piccinich slid a pass through the slot to Fejes, who buried his chance at the right side of the net. Fejes also set up Crane's goal with an impressive forechecking effort. J.J. Piccinich picked up the lone assist on the goal from Fejes. Martins Dzierkals tallied his ninth goal of the season at 4:17 of the second period with a wrist shot from the high slot. The goal eventually stood up as his third game-winning goal of the campaign, tying him with Winquist and Max Novak for the team lead. Adam Phillips earned his fourth assist of the season with the secondary helper on Dzierkals' goal. Mackenzie Skapski earned his sixth win of the season for Orlando, making 35 saves on 38 shots against.

NOTABLES: Mike Monfredo led Orlando with six shots on goal. With the win, the Solar Bears conclude the month of January with a 6-4-1-0 record, and have improved to 8-0-0-0 on the road when leading after two periods. Orlando is also now 8-0-0-0 in games in which Dzierkals scores a goal. The Solar Bears remain on the road as they head back to the Palmetto State to play the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday, Feb. 2 at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05 p.m. The Solar Bears return home to play the Florida Everblades on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center at 7 p.m. Single-game tickets for the 2017-18 season are now on sale at the Amway Center box office and  ticketmaster.com.

THREE STARS: 1) Hunter Fejes - ORL 2) Lindsay Sparks - ATL 3) Ben Danford - ATL

About the Orlando Solar Bears: The Orlando Solar Bears are in their sixth season of operation in the ECHL, the premier "AA" hockey league in North America, and are the proud affiliate of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and the AHL's Toronto Marlies. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play at the  ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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