Solar Bears skate past Steelheads
Troy Bourke leads Orlando to 6-2 win
ORLANDO, Fla. – Troy Bourke had a four-point night and the Orlando Solar Bears (34-21-4-1) inched closer toward locking up a playoff spot with a 6-2 win over the Idaho Steelheads (35-22-3-2) on Saturday night at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.
The Solar Bears took a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal at 9:11 of the first period as Chris LeBlanc pursued Steelheads defenseman Jeff King behind the Idaho net, stole the puck from the blueliner and fed Trevor Olson at the right side of the net for Olson’s 16th of the season.
Bourke put Orlando up 2-0 with his 10th of the season at 18:53 when he received a feed from Mitch Hults on his backhand in the slot, then lifted the puck over the glove of Tomas Sholl.
Mathieu Foget closed out the frame with his 18th of the season off a Michael Brodzinski rebound to send the Solar Bears into the dressing room up 3-0.
The scoring binge extended into the second period as Colby McAuley found the back of the net just 39 seconds into the middle frame with his 12th of the season.
Otto Somppi made it 5-0 when Sholl tried to poke the puck away from the Idaho net on an Orlando dump-in, but Bourke pounced on the loose puck and found Somppi in the slot for the rookie’s eighth of the season at 6:32.
Moments later, Somppi and Bourke teamed up on a face-off play and set up Akim Aliu, who blasted his fourth of the season past Sholl at 6:52 to make it 6-0.
The Steelheads finally solved Connor Ingram at 18:22 with a power-play goal from Steven McParland, and Elgin Pearce added a goal at 12:52 of the third period, but the Solar Bears shut the door the rest of the way on Idaho.
Ingram turned aside 28 shots of the 30 he faced for the victory; Sholl took the loss with 29 stops on 35 shots against.
1) Troy Bourke – ORL
2) Mitch Hults – ORL
3) Chris LeBlanc – ORL
• The win, combined with South Carolina’s 4-3 loss to Florida, has reduced Orlando’s magic number to clinch a berth in the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs to six points.
• The Solar Bears improved to 22-3-1-0 when the team scores first and 24-0-0-0 when leading after the second period this season.
• Bourke had his team-leading third four-point outing of the season, and leads Orlando with 10 total multi-point games. The forward also extended his point streak to four games (3g-8a), and his goal was the 50th of his pro career.
• McAuley returned from a one-game suspension and played in his 100th career pro game. His goal extended his goal streak to three games (5g).
• Cody Donaghey recorded two assists, extending his point streak to three games (1g-4a).
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