Starting on a good note

ORLANDO — Nick Petersen has been climbing up the ECHL’s scoring leaderboards all season. With his hat trick on Thursday in Orlando’s 5-3 win over the South Carolina Stingrays, Petersen was able to become the ECHL’s leading scorer.

The three goals by Petersen also marked the Solar Bears first hat trick in ECHL franchise history.

“When it’s going in you want to keep plugging away, because things are happening on a good night like that. For me, you just keep going after that, you get a little motivation, and then you have the confidence to put the puck in the net,” said Petersen about the fourth hat trick of his career.

Petersen went into Thursday’s game trailing San Francisco’s Justin Bowers by one point for the league’s scoring lead.

He ended the night in sole possession of the ECHL scoring lead, after his three goal performance. His first goal came half way through the first period to give the Solar Bears a 3-1 lead.

Petersen was able to put himself all alone at the top of the scorers list with his unassisted second period goal, which gave Orlando a 4-2 lead going into the third period, only to finish off his hat trick early in the third period, when captain Ryan Cruthers assisted him for his third goal of the game to make the score 5-3 in favor of Orlando.

The Solar Bears would hold on to the 5-3 lead to come away with their third straight win. The win improves Orlando’s record to 3-1-1-0 for the season.

Petersen has six goals and six assists through five games this season. With his 12 points this season Petersen now leads the league in scoring by two.