Solar Bears fall short in sudden death to Road Warriors 4-3

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Courtesy of Orlando Solar Bears

Patrick Killeen saved 36 shots in his second Solar Bear game.

ORLANDO – Patrick Killeen had 36 saves on 39 shots, but it wasn’t enough as the Orlando Solar Bears fell 4-3 in a shootout to the Greenville Road Warriors on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the Amway Center.

Killeen was starting in just his second game between the pipes for Orlando since his acquisition on January 24. In seven periods of play as Solar Bears goalie Killeen has allowed 13 goals.

“I felt a lot more comfortable in there tonight,” said Killeen about his second start as a Solar Bear. “Obviously it wasn’t a great outing, but I thought I did a good job tonight and I felt pretty comfortable out there.”

Midway through the first period Orlando’s Michael Neal put the Solar Bears on the scoreboard first when he deflected Alain Goulet’s shot into the net to give Orlando a 1-0 lead with 8:09 left in the first stanza.

Greenville tied that game at 1-1 when Lee Baldwin scored his third goal of the season with 6:08 remaining in the second period.

Brandon Wong gave the Road Warriors a 2-1 lead with 3:28 remaining in the second stanza when he scored his 21st goal of the season on Solar Bears goalie Patrick Killeen.

“That was his first game in probably six weeks, a month.” said Solar Bears head coach Drake Berehowsky about Killeen’s performance. “We know he’s a good goalie and he’s just got to get his timing back. I thought he played a real good game tonight.”

Orlando was outshot 15-5 during the second period.

“We just want to play our game,” said Berehowsky. “The first period I thought we played well. The second period I think we took four penalties that period. For eight minutes we were shorthanded, you can’t expect to win hockey games when your shorthanded for eight minutes of the period.”

The Solar Bears tied the game at 2-2 with 17:21 left to play in the third period when Michael Neal scored his second power play goal of the game.

Ryan Cruthers gave Orlando a 3-2 lead with 13:25 remaining in the game, when he scored the Solar Bears third power play goal of the night four seconds after Greenville’s Ryan Flanigan got two minutes in the penalty box for interference.

Greenville’s Marc-Olivier Vallerand tied the game at 3-3 with :01.1 seconds left in regulation time, taking the game into sudden death overtime.

“It’s pretty normal for that to kind of bring you down a bit,” said Killeen about the late game-tying goal. “But I thought the team did a great job coming out in overtime.”

After a scoreless five minutes of overtime the teams went to a shootout. The shootout was the seventh of the season for the Solar Bears.

Greenville forward Brandon Connolly scored first in the shootout, before Chris Lawrence tied it at 1-1 with Orlando’s fifth shot of the shootout.

Jordie Johnston finished off the victory for the Road Warriors when he put the puck past Killeen on the Road Warriors fifth shootout attempt.

“You can’t really over think anything,” said Killeen about the shootout goal. “Especially on ice like that, you know he’s probably going to shoot it, but if they make a good shot and you read it wrong, thats the way it is.”

With the shootout loss the Solar Bears record falls to 19-22-2-3, but Orlando does gain a point in the standings. The Solar Bears now sit in 11th place with 43 points.

“That’s a first place team right now and I thought we played a really good game,” said Killeen after the game. “There was a couple bad bounces that caused some goals, but we have to take some positives out of this.”

Orlando’s next game will be Friday, Feb. 1 at 7:00 p.m. for the second game of a three game series against the Road Warriors.