Orlando, FL –The Adirondack Thunder dropped the rubber match to the Orlando Solar Bears by a 5-3 final on Sunday evening at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL.
The Thunder opened the scoring 7:05 into the game as Adirondack’s blueline got into the scoring action for the second straight night. As the Thunder rushed up ice, Greg Wolfe hit a streaking Ryan Constant into the offensive zone and Constant put a wristshot past Orlando netminder Ryan Massa’s glove for an early 1-0 lead. The tally, Constant’s seventh of the season, came from Wolfe and Peter MacArthur, the third straight game in Orlando that MacArthur collected an assist, his sixth overall on the road trip.
The Solar Bears wasted little time in answering, however, as they evened the score at one just 66 seconds later. After an extended shift in the offensive zone, Orlando worked the puck around to T.J. Foster, who put a pinpoint pass onto the stick of Rylan Schwartz in front and the winger redirected the puck by Adirondack netminder Drew Fielding for the goal. The tally for Schwartz marked his 17th of the season, while Foster’s helper was his 47th point of the season, second on the active roster.
Orlando would take their first lead of the night 1:39 after they tied the score as leading point getter Brady Vail put the home side up 2-1. The Solar Bears came down the ice on a three-on-two rush and after forward Jack Rodewald carried the puck deep down the right wing, he hit Vail as the trailer and the Orlando winger was able to outwait Fielding and finish for his 19th goal of the season. Rodewald’s helper marked his sixth straight game with a point, including four assists in the most recent three games against Adirondack.
With time running down in the first, the Solar Bears capitalized once again to take a 3-1 lead with less than three minutes to play in the opening period. As Orlando controlled the puck in the Adirondack end, defenseman Eric Baier put a slap-pass towards the front of the net, where Rory Rawlyk was positioned to swat it past Fielding and increase the lead to two goals. Rawlyk’s goal was his third of the season, while Baier and Vail collected the assists, giving Vail a multi-point game.
The home side would open the second period as they closed the previous one, with a goal just 34 seconds into the middle stanza. The Solar Bears collected the puck in the neutral zone and walked in on a two-on-one rush against Fielding. Using Erik Bradford as a decoy, defenseman Chris Bradley fired a shot through the five hole for this first career professional goal. The goal marked the end of Fielding’s evening, as he made way for Mavric Parks, who made his second career professional appearance.
The Thunder were able to cut their deficit to 4-2 midway through the second period as they beat Massa at the 13:16 mark of the middle stanza. After some terrific work along the boards, Michael Kirkpatrick saucered a pass into the slot for Luke Curadi and the big defenseman picked his spot for his fourth tally of the season. The goal was assisted by Kirkpatrick and MacArthur, giving MacArthur another multi-point game, his sixth since February 20.
Orlando would regain their three-goal advantage midway through the third period as they converted on the power play to take a 5-2 lead. With Orlando on a 5-on-4 advantage, defenseman Brenden Miller corralled the puck at the point and fed Manderson at the left circle, where the Solar Bears’ forward one-timed the feed short side past the blocker hand of Parks. The tally, the fourth of the season for Manderson, was assisted by Miller and Schwartz, the fifth point of the weekend for Schwartz.
Adirondack added a late goal with less than a minute to play in the game to cut their deficit to the final score of 5-3. With Parks on the bench, the Thunder held a 6-on-4 advantage. Standing on the left-hand circle, Greg Wolfe hit MacArthur in front and the Clifton Park native buried the pass for his seventh goal of the season. With the tally, MacArthur finished the three-game set in Orlando with eight points, while Wolfe and Terrence Wallin collected the assists, extending Wallin’s scoring streak to three games.
The Thunder now return home and are back in action on Tuesday, March 22 against the Kalamazoo Wings. Adirondack will have seven of their final eight games at the Civic Center as they push towards the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
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