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Solar Bears nail the Nailers, earn series split

Alexey Lipanov scores power-play goal

Orlando Solar Bears earn series split with Wheeling.
Orlando Solar Bears earn series split with Wheeling.

WHEELING, W.V. – Alexey Lipanov broke a 2-2 tie in the second period with his team-leading sixth power-play goal of the season, and Rich Boyd enjoyed a two-point night to help lift the Orlando Solar Bears (20-18-5-1) to a 5-2 win over the Wheeling Nailers (20-19-5-0) on Saturday night at WesBanco Arena, and earn a split of the two-game weekend series.

Lipanov one-timed a cross-ice pass from Chris LeBlanc past Alex D’Orio at 15:41 of the second frame for his ninth of the season to make it 3-2 in favor of Orlando. Michael Brodzinski added the secondary assist on the goal.

With the goal, Lipanov now owns the Solar Bears’ single-season record for power-play goals scored by a rookie, passing the previous mark of five shared with Trevor Olson (2018-19), Brent Pedersen (2018-19), J.J. Piccinich (2017-18), Milos Bubela (2016-17) and Jack Rodewald (2015-16).

Both teams traded leads in the first period, as Olson initially scored at 6:06 of the opening stanza to give the Solar Bears a 1-0 lead with his 15th of the season with Boyd and Peter Abbandonato assisting.

The Nailers responded with goals from Renars Krastenbergs (9:32) and Spencer Trapp (16:19) to put Orlando in a 2-1 deficit, but Boyd tied it at 2-2 for the Solar Bears when Tayler Thompson won an offensive zone faceoff back to Dylan Fitze, who set up Boyd for a wrist shot from the point that beat D’Orio at 18:57 for the rookie’s fifth of the season.

After Lipanov pulled Orlando ahead in the second period, Taylor Cammarata netted an unassisted power-play goal at 4:42 of the third for his 10th of the season.

Cody Donaghey sealed the game with an empty-net goal at 17:01 for his second of the season.

Clint Windsor picked up his 10th victory of the season for Orlando with 31 saves on 33 shots against; D’Orio took the loss with 38 stops on 42 shots against.

THREE STARS:

  • Alexey Lipanov – ORL
  • Rich Boyd – ORL
  • Spencer Trapp – WHL 

OTHER NOTABLES:

  • The Solar Bears went 2-for-2 with the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill
  • Windsor’s win makes him the third Solar Bears rookie goaltender after Kasmir Kaskisuo (2016-17; 14) and Ryan Massa (2015-16; 19) to reach double-digit wins
  • Olson’s goal gives the forward a three-game goal streak (3g)
  • LeBlanc’s and Brodzinski’s assists gives each player a two-game assist streak (2a)