Orlando Solar Bears dominate Stingrays

Early flurry leads to 7-4 victory


NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Orlando Solar Bears (20-16-3-0) raced out to a 3-0 lead within the opening five minutes of the first period and never looked back, while Chris LeBlanc had a career-high four-point performance in Orlando’s 7-4 win over the South Carolina Stingrays (21-17-2-0) on Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.

Dylan Fitze made it 1-0 when he received a lob pass from Kevin Lohan from the defensive zone and snapped a shot from the right circle past Angus Redmond just 1:31 into the opening frame for his sixth of the season.

Orlando got its second of the game just over a minute later when Myles McGurty’s centering attempt from the right corner glanced off a Stingrays defenseman and Colby McAuley batted the puck past Redmond at 2:41 for his sixth of the season.

Jonne Tammela made it 3-0 on the power play at 4:38 when Mike Monfredo’s slap shot at the left point pinballed off the end boards to Tammela at the right circle, and the Lightning prospect buried his ninth of the season.

Michael Brodzinski chased Redmond from the South Carolina net early in the second period when his wrist shot at the right point fluttered into the net just 1:49 into the frame for the defenseman’s sixth of the season, prompting the Stingrays to replace Redmond with Gordon Defiel.

The Solar Bears continued their scoring binge at 3:17 when Tammela fed Alex Schoenborn at the red line and the forward made his way into the offensive zone before flipping a pass across to Oleg Sosunov, who had joined the rush. The defenseman then snapped a shot past Defiel for his first career ECHL goal, making it 5-0 in favor of Orlando.

The Stingrays broke up Orlando’s run when Christian Horn backhanded a shot past Clint Windsor at 19:12 for a power-play goal.

Matt Pohlkamp netted South Carolina’s second of the game at 3:05 of the third period with a one-timer from the left circle during a 4-on-3 man advantage for the home team.

Grant Besse then struck at 4:44 to pull the Stingrays back to within two of the Solar Bears.

LeBlanc made it 6-3 when he stole the puck from Horn in the neutral zone before beating Defiel with a wrist shot from the left circle at 9:14 for his fifth of the season.

Tad Kozun buried a shot at the left side of the net at 12:22 to bring South Carolina back to within two goals of Orlando.

The Solar Bears capped the scoring when McAuley forced a turnover along the left wall of the offensive zone and backhanded a pass to an open Schoenborn in the slot who put the game away with his third of the season at 17:26.

Windsor picked up the win in his first career ECHL start on the strength of 36 saves on 40 shots against; Redmond made eight stops on 12 shots against before giving way to Defiel, who took the loss with 19 saves on 22 shots against.


1) Chris LeBlanc – ORL
2) Jonne Tammela – ORL
3) Cameron Askew – SC


•    The Solar Bears improved to 2-1-0-0 at the North Charleston Coliseum for the 2018-19 season and currently sit one point behind the Stingrays for third place in the South Division.
•    LeBlanc finished the night with four points (1g-3a) for a new career-high in his pro career. He had set his previous career-high of three points (1g-2a) on Nov. 18 at Worcester.
•    Tammela finished the night with three points (1g-2a).
•    McAuley picked up a Gordie Howe Hat Trick with his first period tally, his fight 32 seconds into the third with Patrick Gaul and his assist on Schoenborn’s goal. McAuley’s goal also represented his fifth of the season against South Carolina – he leads Orlando with eight points (5g-3a) in seven games against the Stingrays.
•    The second period was briefly delayed at the 13:39 mark when South Carolina’s Andrew Cherniwchan hit McGurty in the neutral zone with an illegal check to the head and was assessed a match penalty, while McGurty had to be helped from the ice and did not return.