Orlando Keeps Rays At Bay In Series Opener
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears (32-24-5-1) scored once in each period on their way to a 3-2 defeat of the South Carolina Stingrays (27-23-10-3), who mustered two goals in the third but were unable to find a late equalizer on Friday night at the Amway Center.
Brett Supinski found the back of the net in the opening minute of the third period and Cole Ully scored his team-leading 21st goal of the year in the loss for South Carolina, while Matthew Weis earned an assist to extend his league-high point streak to 12 games.
Goaltender Hunter Shepard got the start in between the pipes for the Rays in his return from the AHL’s Hershey Bears and stopped 38 shots in the defeat.
Orlando took a lead they’d never relinquish at 8:32 of the first period when Jerry D’Amigo made it 1-0 with his 10th tally of the year.
Joseph Garreffa extended the advantage to 2-0 for the Solar Bears at 12:11 of the middle frame and the home club was ahead by a pair of tallies going into the third.
But Supinski got SC on the board just 46 seconds into the final frame and made it 2-1, netting his 13th of the year by finding a loose puck at the side of the Orlando net and punching it home. The lone assist on the play went to forward Dan DeSalvo, his 30th helper of the year.
The Solar Bears responded with a power play goal from Chris LeBlanc at 3:55 of the third to re-take a two-goal edge at 3-1.Ully found the back of the net with a wrist shot from the slot to bring the Rays back within one goal at 14:01. His strike came from Weis and defender Blake Hillman.
None of South Carolina’s late opportunities to tie the game found their way past Orlando netminder Clint Windsor, who finished with 33 saves to earn the victory.
The Solar Bears finished 1-for-2 on the man-advantage, with LeBlanc’s power play strike serving as the game winner, while SC finished 0-for-3. Orlando had 41 shots-on-goal, while the Rays ended with 35 chances on net.
South Carolina and the Solar Bears resume their 3-game series in Orlando on Saturday night at 7 p.m. and conclude the weekend on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Amway Center.