SOLAR BEARS FALL TO STINGRAYS IN 3-1 DECISION
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - After both teams played through two scoreless periods, the Orlando Solar Bears (18-17-5-1) surrendered three goals in the early stages of the third period to the South Carolina Stingrays (25-10-4-1), and were unable to mount a comeback as Orlando fell by a 3-1 score on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Orlando remains in fourth place in the South Division; the Solar Bears still trail third-place Atlanta by three points following the Gladiators' 7-4 loss to Norfolk. Orlando is also two points ahead of fifth-place Greenville, following the Swamp Rabbits' 2-1 loss at Jacksonville.
SCORING SUMMARY - Orlando: Kyle Rankin (Sean Zimmerman, Darryl Bootland) Goaltender: Cal Heeter (34/37)
South Carolina: Kelly Zajac [PP] (Frankie Simonelli, Tommy Hughes), Hampus Gustafsson, Danny Federico (Simonelli, Marcus Perrier) Goaltender: Jeff Jakaitis (19/20)
ON THE SCORESHEET - Kyle Rankin netted his second goal of the season late in regulation when he collected the puck in the right-wing corner and made his way toward the front of the Stingrays net. Although Jeff Jakaitis stopped Rankin's initial attempt, the forward collected his own rebound and beat Jakaitis at the left side of the net at 15:49 of the third. Sean Zimmerman earned the primary assist on Rankin's goal for his fourth point of the season. Darryl Bootland provided the secondary helper on Rankin's goal. Cal Heeter took the loss with 34 saves on 37 shots against.
NOTABLES - J.J. Piccinich led Orlando with four shots on goal. The Solar Bears will look to bounce back tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 27, when they duel the Stingrays again 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) Hampus Gustafsson - SC. 2) Frankie Simonelli - SC. 3) Jeff Jakaitis - SC.
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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