ORLANDO, Fla. - Solar Bears Captain C Ryan Cruthers forced overtime with just over 5:00 left in the contest and G John Curry stopped all five shootout shots to help the Solar Bears collect a 2-1 shootout win over the Wheeling Nailers at the Amway Center on Monday afternoon.
The first period kicked off with a defensive battle, as the two sides combined for just nine shots on goal. The ice opened up in the second frame however, eventually leading to the Nailers taking the 1-0 lead. A partially blocked shot from F Chris Higgins landed on the stick of F Chris Barton, and he knocked it home 9:41 into the second frame. It was the only goal of the period, as Wheeling held a 1-0 lead going into the final stanza.
With just 5:32 left in regulation, Cruthers evened the score at 1-1. Wheeling G Peter Delmas stopped a shot from D Edward Levens, but Cruthers was on the doorstep and slammed home the rebound to force extra time.
The 5:00 overtime period was not enough to decide a winner, forcing the game to go into a shootout. F Michael Neal scored in the fourth round of the shootout and Curry stopped all five Nailers shots as Orlando won their third straight game with a 2-1 victory over Wheeling.
1. J. Curry (ORL); 2. M. Neal (ORL); 3. R. Cruthers (ORL)
Power Plays: ORL: 0/2; WHL: 0/5
Shots: ORL: 23; WHL: 28
The Solar Bears wore their purple jerseys at home for the first time. They will now wear purple at home and white on the road for the remainder of the season... Tonight's game marked the first time that the Solar Bears swept a series of three-or-more games... G John Curry has now stopped 28 of 32 shootout attempts he has faced... C Ryan Cruthers has scored a game-tying goal to force overtime in back-to-back games... The Solar Bears have won six-straight games at home, dating back to December 9.