Yellow Horn tricks visiting Solar Bears

ONTARIO, CA – During a late afternoon radio interview on Wednesday, Orlando Solar Bears head coach Drake Berehowsky apologized for the way he sounded due to a pretty bad cold. By the time his team’s game with the Ontario Reign was finished, he may have not felt much better.
Colton Yellow Horn notched a hat trick and five other Reign players registered two points as Ontario beat Orlando 6-2 in front of 6,726 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena. It was the fourth straight loss for the Solar Bears (8-9-2-1) who now travel on to Las Vegas for a pair of games with the defending Western Conference champion Wranglers on Friday and Saturday.
Hoping to get his team on track after back-to-back shutout losses last week to Gwinnett, Berehowsky turned to netminder Hannu Toivonen who carried a sub-one goals against per game average into the contest. His task was going to be difficult at best as the Reign brought a 9-1 record in their last ten games to the rink.
Playing from behind has been a theme for the Orlando team this year and this game was no exception. After a fairly even first half of the opening period, Ontario opened up the scoring at the 11:50 mark when Kyle Clifford tipped a Chris Huxley shot over Toivonen. Two minutes later, Yellow Horn scored his first of the night on a power play when he snapped a shot to the top right corner of the net. Late in the period, another Reign man advantage hit pay dirt when Yellow Horn converted the rebound of a Brodie Sheahan shot with 20.9 ticks left to give the home team a commanding three goal lead.
The Solar Bears dug down deep and were able to come up with an answer just before the end of the stanza. Captain Ryan Cruthers was able to get a pass over the C.J. Severyn at the right post and Severyn jammed it home with just 2.5 seconds remaining. It was a big goal for both the team and for Cruthers, who collected his 250th career ECHL point with the assist.
The second period was one that Orlando will most likely want to forget. Had it not been for Toivonen (25 saves in the game) standing his ground between the pipes, the high-flying Reign might have opened up a big lead. Ontario outplayed the visitors to the tune of an 11-1 shot advantage (the lowest shot total in a period by Orlando in a game this season) and added to its lead. The lone goal of the period belonged to Kyle Kraemer who circled in from the left face-off circle and deposited a shot just under the crossbar and across the goal line. It came with 9.9 seconds before the second intermission and seemed to anger the Solar Bears heading into the break.
Orlando came out with much more aggression in the final period, finally getting shots on Ontario goalie Jean-Francois Berube (16 saves). By the midpoint of the period, the Solar Bears had as many shots in the third (seven) as they had in the first two periods combined.
Tensions also began to rise, first with an incident between Reign defenseman Matthew Clune who went after Severyn for what Clune felt was a bad hit on a teammate. It became a full-fledged brawl at the 11:40 mark when Orlando took exception to a hit (which was called a slash) by Yellow Horn on Rob Mignardi. By the time the dust had settled, Solar Bear assistant captain Derick Martin as well as Ontario forwards Derek Couture and Justin Pender had been ejected and Orlando was on a power play.
The Solar Bears were able to cash in on the man advantage when Nick Petersen scored his tenth goal of the season by deflecting a shot by Bryce Lampman past Berube. Any thoughts Orlando may have had of a big comeback were dashed less than two minutes later when Yellow Horn picked up his hat trick goal and Mario Lamoureux scored twenty seconds apart to produce the final.
Contact the author at don.money@prohockeynews.com

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