Solar Bears Fall to Admirals, 3-2
ORLANDO, Fla. - Despite a power-play goal from Chris LeBlanc and a club-record 12 shots on goal from Hunter Fejes, the Orlando Solar Bears (0-2-0-0) couldn't overcome a 49-save performance from opposing netminder Brandon Halverson and fell to the Norfolk Admirals (1-2-0-0) by a 3-2 score on Friday at the Jewett Orthopaedic Rink at Amway Center.
The Solar Bears came out flying in the first period, outshooting the Admirals by a 19-6 margin, but Halverson came up with several big stops for the visitors to keep the score tied 0-0 at the end of the opening frame.
Zachary Fucale, meanwhile, made several key stops for Orlando to shore up the team's defensive efforts. The goalie notably made a brilliant goal-line save at the 8:20 mark when the puck trickled through the crease, before Fucale reached behind his body and covered the puck with his glove before it could enter the net.
Norfolk eventually opened the scoring at 2:01 of the second frame when Christian Horn netted a power-play strike for the Admirals.
Charlie O'Connor made it 2-0 for the visitors at 7:58 of the third period when he snapped a shot through the legs of Fucale.
LeBlanc netted his first goal of the season at 9:12 when Fejes sent a pass into the slot from the left side of the offensive zone, allowing LeBlanc to beat Halverson and find the back of the net with a power-play tally.
The Solar Bears pulled Fucale late in the game for an extra attacker, but Alex Rodriguez buried an empty-net goal for Norfolk at 18:29 to once again restore the two-goal edge for the visitors.
Despite the setback, Orlando pulled Fucale again and pushed back at 19:02 when Cody Donaghey blasted a one-timer past a screened Halverson to pull the hosts back to within a goal, but the Solar Bears eventually ran out of time in their comeback attempt.
Fucale took the loss with 26 saves on 28 shots against; Halverson earned the win for Norfolk with 49 stops against 51 total shots.
1) Brandon Halverson - NOR
2) Alex Rodriguez - NOR
3) Chris LeBlanc - ORL
Fejes and Tristin Langan both led Orlando with two points, as each player earned assists on both goals by the Solar Bears
Fejes' 12 shots on goal led the Solar Bears and set a new franchise single-game record for shots on goal by an individual skater, breaking the record previously shared by Colby McAuley (March 9, 2019 at Newfoundland), Eric Faille (Nov. 17, 2016 vs. Greenville) and Eric Baier (Nov. 8, 2015 vs. Florida) - the effort came in Fejes' first game back with the team after re-signing with the team earlier in the week for his third season with the organization
Ivan Kosorenkov (2g-0a), Donaghey (1g-1a), Fejes (0g-2a) and Langan (0g-2a) are all tied for the team lead in scoring
Fucale's .929 save percentage following Friday's game ranks him 11th in the league
NEXT GAME: The Solar Bears face the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. at North Charleston Coliseum. The Solar Bears return home to face the Florida Everblades at the Jewett Orthopaedic Rink at Amway Center on Friday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
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