Solar Bears down Jackals in second home game after road trip


Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

Jacob Cepris had a goal and two assists in the Solar Bears win over Elmira.

The Orlando Solar Bears picked up their first home win in nearly two months on Thursday night against the Elmira Jackals in front of an announced crowd of 5,426. Forward Mike Ullrich led the Solar Bears to the 5-2 win with two goals and an assist on Teddy Bear Toss night at the Amway Center.

The Solar Bears won despite having just five shots on goal in the first period. Head coach Vince Williams credited the team for staying aggressive on offense to outshoot the Jackals 31-20 over the final two periods.

“Almost all of our goals came from funneling and getting pucks in there with bodies,” Williams said. “They found seams cycling it in and I think that contributed. When you have that type of zone time and you’re not allowing the team to change, even when they have the puck in the neutral zone, they can’t change.”

Fans in attendance didn’t have to wait very long before tossing out their teddy bears onto the ice as Solar Bears defenseman Ben Rosen scored the game’s first goal at the 1:03 mark in the first period.

“It was exciting tonight [for] the Teddy Bear Toss night,” Rosen said. “To be honest, when I put it in I forgot it was Teddy Bear Toss night but as I saw the teddy bears come down I knew.

“All of these fans showing their support and throwing all of the teddy bears out whether it’s at our home game or the away games we’ve been to it’s great for the fans, it’s great for the people that are in need that aren’t getting gifts and all of the children in the hospital.”

The Solar Bears came out of the first intermission and scored three goals in the second period to take a 4-1 lead. The Jackals scored early in the final period to the cut the lead to 4-2, but the Solar Bears responded by scoring the game’s fifth goal to ultimately put the game away for good.

Thursday night’s win was the team’s first home win since a 3-0 shutout over the Greenville Road Warriors on Oct. 19.

“It does weigh on you mentally,” Ullrich said on finally picking up a home win. “We knew coming out tonight we had to get the first goal and get rolling again. We had a pretty good road trip for the injuries we had for the length of it, but we needed to come back and not let it weigh into our home games here because we do have a few homestands coming up.”

The Solar Bears return to action on Monday at the Amway Center against the Indy Fuel at 7 p.m.