Cepis lifts Solar Bears to OT win

by: This is a press release from the Orlando Solar Bears Updated:

ORLANDO, Fla. - Forward Jacob Cepis snapped a 2-2 tie to start the third period and then registered his second goal of the game with 1:03 left in overtime as the Solar Bears took down the Grizzlies 4-3 in front of 6,621 fans at the Amway Center on Sunday afternoon. The win secured five of six possible points for Orlando in their three game series against Utah.

The Solar Bears got out to the a 1-0 lead at 8:58 of the first period. D Paul Baier was standing in front of the net and slammed in a rebound after F Scott Tanski deflected a shot from D Blake Kessel. F Mickey Lang expanded the lead to 2-0 a little over three minutes later when F Zach Harrison jumped on a loose puck in front of the net and fed Lang and spin-o-rama between the legs pass for a tap-in goal. The Solar Bears held the 2-0 lead going into the intermission.

Early in the second frame, the Grizzlies cut the Orlando lead in half. F Brent Gwidt blasted a slap shot from the top of the right circle through a pile of bodies in front of the net and past G Ross MacKinnon to put Utah on the board. Utah found the equalizer with 4:48 to play in the frame when forward D.J. Jelitto got his own rebound and snapped the shot into the top left corner to send the game tied at 2-2 into the third. MacKinnon stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced in the period to tie a season high set by G John Curry.

Before two minutes had expired in the final stanza, F Jacob Cepis restored the Orlando lead when he cruised over the blue line and whipped a wrist shot inside the right goalpost as Orlando took a 3-2 advantage. D Pat O'Keefe answered back for Utah at 7:52 when he one-timed a shot from the high-slot through a maze of bodies in front of the net to force extra time. In the sudden death period, F Mike Ullrich walked the puck forward off the draw and fed a pass to Cepis who blasted a one-timer over the glove of G Cody Reichard to propel the Solar Bears to the 4-3 overtime victory.

Three Stars: 1. J. Cepis (ORL); 2. R. MacKinnon (ORL); 3. M. Ullrich (ORL)
Power Plays: ORL: 0/4; UTA: 0/2
Shots: ORL: 36; UTA: 49


G Ross MacKinnon made his ECHL debut today. He set a new Solar Bears record with 46 saves in the game and tied a Solar Bears season high (John Curry - Nov. 2 vs. FLA) for saves in a period with 20 in the second frame... The 49 shots allowed by the Solar Bears was the most they have given up since joining the ECHL... D Paul Baier skated as a forward at today's game and scored his first goal of the season. He is three games shy of 250 in his North American professional career... The overtime win for the Solar Bears tonight was their first of the year. They have also won twice in shootouts (Nov. 1 at FLA, Nov. 15 at EVN).