Solar Bears score first ECHL victory

ESTERO, Fla – Last weekend, the Orlando Solar Bears made their ECHL debut, playing well but losing twice. Friday night, they turned things around in a big way.
 
Captain Ryan Cruthers scored two goals and Mathew Sisca recorded four assists to lead the Solar Bears to a resounding 8-2 victory over the Florida Everblades at the Germain Arena. The Solar Bears scored four goals in each of the first two periods en route to their first win since coming out of hibernation. The two teams will finish their season-opening, four-game mini series Saturday night in Orlando.
 
Orlando came out on fire in the opening frame as left winger Ryan Ginand collected his own rebound in front of the net and powered the second chance home for a 1-0 lead 7:38 into the period. At the 10:45 mark, forward Rob Mignardi held the puck in the offensive zone and found F C.J. Severyn open in front. Severyn tapped in the pass to double the lead. Just 45 seconds later, Josh Caron slammed home a wraparound for his first professional goal.
 
Olivier Fortier, playing in his first game with the Solar Bears, capped off the scoring by deflecting home a pass from defenseman Kyle Medvec with 6:29 left before the intermission.
 
The offensive rush continued for the Solar Bears in the second period. Medvec started it off when he finished off a wrap around 6:46 into the frame. The margin grew to six 1:30 later when left winger Nick Petersen fired home his own rebound for his third goal in as many games. Cruthers picked up the next two goals, first deflecting in a Petersen shot and then blasting home a power play goal with 36 seconds left in the stanza. The tallies gave Cruthers four goals in Orlando’s first three contests.
 
Florida struck back early in the third period as forward Justin Shugg capitalized 56 seconds into the frame, giving the home fans hope. Forward Leigh Salters made it an 8-2 score when he redirected a shot midway through the period, but neither team would strike after that and the Solar Bears skated away with the 8-2 victory.
 
The offensive outburst made a winner of Orlando goalie John Curry, who stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced. John Muse and Pat Nagle split time in the Everblades net, facing a combined 49 shots.
 
The Solar Bears will host their first-ever ECHL game at the Amway Center starting at 7 p.m. Former Solar Bear and current Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards will participate in a special pre-game ceremony that starts at 6:45 p.m.
 
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