Solar Bears drop Game 6, are eliminated from playoffs

Playoff hockey in Central Florida came to an end on Tuesday, as the Orlando Solar Bears fell to the Cincinnati Cyclones 2-1 in Game 6 of the ECHL Eastern Conference quarterfinals in front of an announced attendance of 5,407 at the Amway Center.

Wade Megan scored the game-winner for the Cyclones with 5:22 remaining in the third period, when he put the puck in the back of the net off of a face-off to give Cincinnati a 2-1 lead and eventually clinch the series with a win.

The Solar bears got on the scoreboard early thanks to a goal from Wade MacLeod 1:30 into the first period when he scored his third goal of the playoffs by blasting the puck past Cyclones goalie Rob Madore and into the back of the net.

The Solar Bears defense held strong the rest of the opening period, as Orlando went into the first intermission leading 1-0.

Dan Eves tied the game at 1-1 for the Cyclones early in the second stanza when he put the puck between the posts 1:13 into the period.

Orlando would have their fair share of opportunities following the goal, but couldn’t capitalize and turn any of them into points.

Orlando’s season came down to the final period, as the Solar Bears went into the third stanza tied at 1-1 with the Cyclones.

Megan’s game-winner came late in the third period, giving him his fourth goal of the series. The Solar Bears would try to equalize during the final five minutes of the game, but despite pulling their goalie with 1:45 left in the game they couldn’t score the game-tying goal.

The Solar Bears season now comes to an end after losing the series 4-2 to the Cyclones, but this is only the beginning for an ECHL franchise that is just two years young.

In the ECHL, teams can come back looking drastically different following the offseason, as many players make the jump to the AHL, while others simply go elsewhere via free agency.

The goal for the Solar Bears during the offseason should be to keep captain Eric Baier and local forward Ian Slater, among other fan favorites like C.J. Severyn and Scott Tanski.