Windsor Leads Solar Bears to Win over Gladiators
ORLANDO, Fla. - Goalie Clint Windsor turned in a 36-save effort in his first start since March 1 and the Orlando Solar Bears (35-23-4-1) defeated the Atlanta Gladiators (27-26-7-3) by a 5-1 score on Thursday night at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.
Colby McAuley struck first for the Solar Bears with his 13th goal of the season at 12:17 of the first period as Cody Donaghey made his way behind the net before setting up McAuley at the side of the net to sweep the puck past Sean Bonar.
Otto Somppi extended Orlando's lead to two goals with at 16:48 when Troy Bourke fed Somppi at the left side of the net, allowing the rookie to slip the puck underneath the pads of Bonar for his ninth of the season.
Brent Pedersen buried his 11th of the season at 2:46 of the second period when he made his way up the left flank and snapped a shot that deflected off the left post and past Bonar.
The Solar Bears took a 4-0 lead when Mathieu Foget swept the puck out of the defensive zone to Chris LeBlanc for a shorthanded breakaway, and the forward roofed a backhand shot past a sprawled Bonar for his seventh of the season.
The goal prompted Atlanta to replace Bonar with Michael Bitzer in goal, and the Gladiators seemed to respond when Nolan LaPorte scored on Windsor on a breakaway at 17:07 to get the visitors on the board.
Orlando had an answer late in the frame as Bourke, Somppi and Donaghey teamed up on a tic-tac-toe play that resulted in the second shorthanded goal of the evening for the hosts, with Donaghey burying his 15th of the season at 19:45 to make it 5-1.
Windsor turned aside all 14 shots he faced in the third period to keep the Gladiators at bay and secure the win, and his 36 stops on 37 total shots against matched his previous season-high; Bonar took the loss for Atlanta with 13 saves on 17 shots against.
1) Clint Windsor - ORL
2) Chris LeBlanc - ORL
3) Cody Donaghey - ORL
Orlando's magic number to clinch a berth in the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs has been reduced to four points with the win.
The Solar Bears lead the Gladiators in the regular season series with a 5-2-0-0 record.
Donaghey's assist on McAuley's goal gave the defenseman his 39th point of the season, moving Donaghey past Eric Baier for sole possession of the club's single-season mark for points by a defenseman. Donaghey's goal also matched Brenden Miller's franchise single-season record for goals by a defenseman, originally set during the 2016-17 campaign.
Bourke finished the night with two assists, extending his point streak to seven games (3g-12a).
Foget's two assists extended his point streak to three games (2g-3a).
NEXT GAMES: The Solar Bears begin a five-game road trip this weekend when they take on the Florida Everblades on Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m. at Hertz Arena. The Solar Bears return to the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center to host the Jacksonville Icemen on Tuesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for this game.
2019-20 Season Ticket Memberships on Sale Now:
Upgrade to Solar Status and become a Season Ticket Member today. Season ticket memberships for the 2019-20 season are now on sale and start as little as $270.
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.
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