The Orlando Solar Bears embarked on a 13-game, 25-day road trip two weeks ago in sixth place of the East Division and trailing first-place Florida by five points. The trip may prove to be a turning point in the Solar Bears’ season, as Orlando has won seven of the first eight games, including all four games last week, to improve to 10-6-2 on the season and to within one point of the Everblades in the division standings.
The second week of Orlando’s road trip began with a Tuesday morning game in Cincinnati where the Solar Bears skated away with a 5-3 win. Eric Baier scored a pair of goals while Greg Miller and Mike Ullrich each picked up two assists. Maxime Clermont recorded the win in goal, turning aside 38 Cyclones’ shots.
On Wednesday, the Solar Bears picked up a 4-1 win in their first-ever meeting with the Indy Fuel. Ullrich had a pair of assists for the second straight game while Miller and Denver Manderson each had a goal and an assist and Jake Parenteau scored his first professional goal. Clermont was strong between the pipes again, stopping 21 of 22 shots.
Orlando traveled to South Carolina for a pair of games over the weekend, and started the two-game series with a 6-5 shootout win on Saturday. Five different Solar Bears scored during regulation with Ryan Rupert leading the way with a three-point effort (1g-2a), in addition to adding the deciding goal in the shootout.
The Solar Bears ended their busy week with a 2-0 victory over the Stingrays on Sunday. Miller and Rupert scored Orlando’s goals and Kent Patterson recorded his first shutout of the season, stopping all 28 shots he faced.
Miller has been the key cog offensively for Orlando, as he is tied for the league lead with 20 points (11g-9a) while his 11 goals are tied for second overall. He enters this week on a 10-game point streak, over which he has tallied 17 points (9g-8a). Jacob Cepis has also had a hot hand for the Solar Bears as his 13 assists are tied for the league lead in that category. Manderson is also among the league leaders as his 17 points (6g-11a) have him tied for seventh.
The Solar Bears are in action three times this week, visiting Toledo on Friday, Fort Wayne on Saturday and Kalamazoo on Sunday. Orlando will play twice in Greenville next week before finally returning home on Dec. 9.