Solar Bears lose last home game before road trip

Chris Lawrence scored his first goal as a Solar Bear on Tuesday, Nov. 20, but it wasn’t enough for Orlando, as they lost 4-3 against the Kalamazoo Wings at the Amway Center, in front of 5,750 fans.

Lawrence put in the first goal of the game on a power play with 5:24 minutes left to play in the first period, but the Solar Bears lead wouldn’t last long as Kalamazoo forward Steven Anthony would score his first goal of the season just three and a half minutes after Lawrence gave Orlando the lead.

The Solar Bears went into the second period tied 1-1, while outshooting the Wings 13-12 during the first stanza. The Wings played much more aggressively during the second period, outshooting Orlando 17-7.

Kory Karlander and Dustin Cloutier both scored during the opening minute and a half of the second period, helping Kalamazoo jump out to a 3-1 lead with 18:44 minutes remaining in the stanza. Eric Kattelus would later add the eventual game winner, when he scored the fifth goal of the season with 2:17 minutes left to play in the period.

“I just didn’t think we came out great,” said Solar Bears head coach Drake Berehowsky about his team’s second period performance. “It’s unfortunate. I think sometimes you get carried away with your success and we have to learn that we can’t get too high, we can’t get too low.”

Nick Petersen would cut the Solar Bear’s deficit to one, when he scored his first goal since returning to Orlando from a short stint with the Houston Aeros.

Kevin Baker was able to bring Orlando within one when he scored his fourth goal of the season with 15:06 minutes left to play in the game. The Solar Bears had their chances to tie the game late in the final period when Kalamazoo was hit with two consecutive penalties to give Orlando a five on three advantage, but were unable to take advantage of the power play.

“They moved the puck around well,” said Berehowsky about the final power play. “But sometimes they’re not going to score.”

The Solar Bears were outshot by the Wings 37-32 for the game, with Kalamazoo goalie making 29 saves. With the loss Orlando falls to 8-6-2-1 for the season, which keeps them in third place in the South Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.

“We didn’t play the way we’re capable of, we didn’t stick to the structure.” said Berehowsky after the game. “ I think we believed the hype, we thought we could get away with things when we should have come in and just stuck to the gameplan.”

Orlando will now travel to Gwinnett to play the first game of a five game road trip, before returning home on Dec. 7 to face off against the Fort Wayne Komets.