Solar Bears Fall in Shootout to Gwinnett

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

Orlando, FL - The Solar Bears struck for two goals in the third period, but surrendered a goal with 1.1 seconds left in regulation to eventually fall 4-3 in a shootout to the Greenville Road Warriors at the Amway Center on Wednesday night.

The Solar Bears used their home ice to get out to a 1-0 lead in the first period. D Derick Martin moved a pass across the ice to D Alain Goulet with F Michael Neal camped out in front of the net. Neal deflected Goulet's shot past G Scott Stajcer to collect a power play goal at 11:51 of the frame. It was the only goal scored in the opening period, with the Solar Bears holding a 12-10 edge in shots on goal.

Greenville came storming back in the second frame, starting when D Lee Baldwin tied the game at 13:52. Baldwin pulled a puck off the left wall and fired a shot towards G Patrick Killeen. The Solar Bears goaltender made the save, but the rebound bounced off a defenseman and rolled into the net to make the score 1-1. Less than three minutes later, at 16:32, the Solar Bears turned a puck over in the defensive zone and F Brandon Wong made them pay, wristing a shot into the left corner of the net to give Greenville a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.

Neal put home his second goal of the contest 2:39 into the final stanza. A shot from Goutlet at the blue line went wide, but Neal pulled the puck off the boards and knocked it past Stajcer to even the contest at 2-2 with a second power play marker. C Ryan Cruthers then gave the Solar Bears the lead, scoring their third power play goal of the contest when he redirected a shot past Stajcer at 6:35 as Orlando gained a 3-2 lead. Greenville knotted it up with just 1.1 seconds remaining when F Brendan Connolly found F Marc-Olivier Vallerand all alone in front of the net to force extra time with a 3-3 score. A scoreless sudden death period led to a shootout, where F Jordie Johnston snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth round to lead the Road Warriors to a 4-3 shootout win.

Three Stars: 1. B. Connolly (GRN); 2. M. Neal (ORL); 3. A. Goulet (ORL)
Power Plays: ORL: 3/9; GRN: 0/8
Shots: ORL: 30; GRN: 40

The Solar Bears have scored a power play goal in four straight games... C Ryan Cruthers returned from his suspension tonight, scoring a third period goal and extending his goal-streak to five games... The Solar Bears matched their season high for power play goals in a game with three tonight. They scored three goals against the Greenville Road Warriors on Oct. 28 as well... F Michael Neal is on a three game scoring streak with four goals during that span... The Solar Bears are now 6-0-0-1 in their last seven home games.