DULUTH, Ga. - The Solar Bears tallied three goals in the first period en route to a 5-1 victory over the Gwinnett Gladiators at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on Friday night. F Jacob Cepis picked up three assists in the game to lead the offensive charge for the Solar Bears.
A shorthanded goal helped the Solar Bears get out to an early lead. D Blake Kessel fired a pass through the neutral zone out to F Andrew Johnston, who batted the puck out of midair, raced in a breakaway, and fired the puck home at 6:18 of the first period. F Scott Tanski pushed the Orlando lead to 2-0 when he took a pass from Cepis on the left side and snapped a shot inside the right goal post 12:09 into the frame. Just under a minute a later, Gwinnett cut the lead in half when F Marshall Everson intercepted a pass in the slot and fired it past G Christopher Gibson. The Solar Bears struck right back, as D Bryce Aneloski dumped a puck into the attacking end but it took a strange bounce off the glass and F Kory Nagy capitalized by wristing a shot into the top right corner at 14:12. The Solar Bears took the 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
Orlando picked up the lone goal of the second frame at 3:40 of the period. With a delayed penalty coming up against Gwinnett and extra skater on the ice for the Solar Bears, Cepis lifted a pass to D Eric Baier who blasted a one-timer into the bottom right corner to give Orlando a 4-1 lead. Gwinnett G Paul Karpowich was replaced by G Brad Phillips following the goal.
The first Solar Bears power play of the game came early in the third, and Orlando used it to jump out to a four goal advantage. Kessel fired a slap shot off the goal post and F Mike Ullrich was there for the rebound to slam it home at 3:54. It was the final goal of the contest, as Gibson turned aside 17 of the 18 shots he faced in the game to earn the win for Orlando.
Three Stars: 1. J. Cepis (ORL); 2. S. Tanski (ORL); 3. B. Kessel (ORL)
Power Plays: ORL: 1/4; GWT: 0/2
Shots: ORL: 42; GWT: 18
The 18 shots surrendered by the Solar Bears were the fewest since joining the ECHL... F Mickey Lang had his four game point streak and three game goal streak snapped tonight... F Mike Ullrich extended his point streak to five games with his third period goal (4 goals, 4 assists)... F Jacob Cepis has registered seven points in his last three games (2 goals, 5 assists)... Orlando improved to 4-0-0-1 against Gwinnett this season... The Solar Bears scored shorthanded, even strength, and on the power play tonight... Orlando is now 5-1-0-0 on the road on Friday nights... F Ian Slater served the third game of his four game ECHL suspension... F Trevor Gillies served the third game of his five game ECHL suspension.