Solar Bears sweep three game home series against Nailers

Solar+Bears+sweep+three+game+home+series+against+Nailers

Courtesy of Orlando Solar Bears

Solar Bears goaltender John Curry stopped five consecutive shootout shots to secure the victory against the Nailers 2-1.

By Danny Morales / [email protected], Staff Writer

ORLANDO – Michael Neal scored the lone shootout goal as the Orlando Solar Bears defeated the Wheeling Nailers 2-1 in a shootout on Monday, Jan. 21 in front of 5,443 fans at the Amway Center.

The shootout win over the Nailers gave the Solar Bears a three game winning streak, which tied for the longest streak of the season.

“It’s fantastic,” said Solar Bears coach Drake Berehowsky about the weekend series. “It’s the first time we’ve swept a team at home. I’m proud of the guys, they battled hard, they came out in the third and dug their heels in. It was nice to see a push back.”

Wheeling got on the board first when Nailers forward Chris Barton scored his tenth goal of the season midway through the second period, giving the Nailers a 1-0 lead.

Orlando managed to out shoot Wheeling 11-10 during the second period, despite only getting off one shot during the opening period.

“It wasn’t the start we wanted,” said Neal about the first period. “But we came back in, we refocused and went right back there and went to work.”

Solar Bears captain Ryan Cruthers tied the game at 1-1 with 5:32 left to play in regulation when he scored his 12th goal of the season thanks to assists from defense men Edward Levens and forward Michael Neal.

“Everybody was excited,” said Neal about the mood on the bench after Cruthers tied the game. “It was right there for the picking. We were just happy to get that one to go in and obviously we were really excited to get that extra point in the shootout.”

With the game tied at one, the Solar Bears went into overtime for the sixth time this season.

The five minute overtime period saw three shots total, two from Wheeling and one by Orlando. Following the scoreless overtime, both teams went to a shootout.

Dan Gendur, Matthew Sisca and Darick Ste-Marie all had their shots denied by Nailers goalie Peter Delmas, before forward Michael Neal was able to go to the corner for the only goal of the shootout.

“That’s what he does,” said Berehowsky of Neal’s shootout goal. “He scores some goals and he’s been a big help for us. We’re happy to have him here.”

John Curry blocked all five Wheeling shots during the shootout, securing the Solar Bears 2-1 shootout victory.

“It’s definitely great,” said Solar Bears forward C.J. Severyn about the three-game winning streak at home. “We’re taking strides here in the second stretch of the season, we’re a little over halfway through and we’ve got to start climbing the ladder, we’ve got to start winning games.”

Orlando will now have a few days off due to the ECHL All-Star game which will be played in Loveland, Colorado on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Forward C.J. Severyn will be representing the Solar Bears in the All-Star game on Wednesday.

The Solar Bears first game after the All-Star break will be Friday, Jan. 25 on the road against the Gwinnett Gladiators.