The Orlando Solar Bears continued their torrid pace on home ice last week with four wins in five nights, improving to 10-0-1 in their last 11 games at Amway Center and closing to within five points of South Carolina for the top spot in both the South Division and the Eastern Conference.
Orlando opened last week with a 5-2 win against South Carolina on Tuesday. Mickey Lang tied the club record with four goals, while Jacob Cepis (3a), Taylor Matson (2a) and Zachary Yuen (2a) each had multi-point efforts as well. Tyler Beskorowany turned aside 25 shots to pick up the win in his Solar Bears’ debut.
The Solar Bears used a late third-period goal to edge the Stingrays 2-1 on Thursday. After South Carolina struck first early in the second period, Lang pulled Orlando even less than two minutes later and Blake Kessel furnished the game-winner with 1:30 remaining in the third period.
Orlando’s run continued with a 4-2 victory over Gwinnett on Friday. Tyler Murovich and Bryce Aneloski got the Solar Bears off to a quick start with goals in the first 8:31 of the first period while Cepis scored the eventual game-winner midway through the second period. Matson led the way for Orlando with three points (1g-2a) and Cody Reichard recorded the win with 21 saves.
The Solar Bears late-game heroics continued on Saturday as Lang scored with nine seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, and then scored the game-winning goal 1:10 into the extra session to lift Orlando to a 5-4 win over the Gladiators. Matson had his second straight three-point game with two goals and an assist while Cody Wild had three points of his own with a goal and two assists. Reichard stopped 37 Gwinnett shots to win his fourth consecutive start.
Orlando, which has not lost in regulation at home since Dec. 28, is second in the league with 19 home wins on the year.
Lang has posted 20 points (12g-8a) in 12 games with Orlando, and his 29 goals combined this season with the Solar Bears and Fort Wayne lead the ECHL. Zach Harrison has 32 points (12g-20a) in 47 games on the campaign while Kessel is tied for seventh among ECHL defensemen with 28 points (6g-22a) in 35 games.
The Solar Bears head north for three games this week, visiting Toledo on Friday and Saturday and Kalamazoo on Sunday.