New acquisitions prove to be beneficial

ORLANDO — Chris Lawrence and B.J. Crombeen were both acquired by the Solar Bears prior to this weekend’s three-game series against the Kalamazoo Wings in Orlando.

Crombeen, currently a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, signed with Orlando on Friday, Nov. 16 after spending the beginning of the season working for the National Hockey League Players’ Association’s negotiations committee attempting to end the lockout. Lawrence was acquired one day prior to Crombeen via a trade with the San Francisco Bulls.

“Obviously it was kind of a good fit being in Tampa, close to my family there,” said Crombeen on his decision to sign with the Solar Bears. “It’s obviously the closest team and I knew Drake a little bit, so that made it a lot easier to kind of look at the opportunity here.”

Lawrence, who was a Lightning third-round draft pick back in 2005, had two goals and three assists for the Bulls before being dealt to the Solar Bears. He also had three assists during his Orlando debut on Saturday night, and added another two assists in Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 win over the Wings.

“He’s a great player,” said Solar Bears coach Drake Berehowsky on Lawrence. “I’ve known him watching him in junior, and in the OHL I coached against him, and I thought he was a great player then. So I kind of had an idea what we were getting when we traded for him.”

Lawrence had a two-game stint last season where he played for Orlando’s AHL affiliate the Houston Aeros. During those two games in Houston, Lawrence did not record a goal or assist, while having a plus-minus of negative one. When he joined the Solar Bears, Lawrence had a plus-minus of negative five, but since coming to Orlando he has improved that number to negative three.

“It’s nice to have a good start,” said Lawrence about his Orlando debut. “Playing with some great players made it pretty easy for me. Everybody’s well coached, so it made it a lot easier for me.”

Crombeen failed to score over the weekend, but he did manage to get off a total of 11 shots throughout the two games against Kalamazoo.

“He’s an NHL caliber guy,” said Solar Bears goalie Hannu Toivonen on the addition of veteran B.J. Crombeen. “We know how hard he works, and it’s a good reminder for all of us.”

Orlando also agreed to terms with defenseman Jarrett Rush before Sunday’s game. Rush had previously been playing with the Augusta Riverhawks of the SPHL.