ORLANDO, Fla. – The Solar Bears saw their winning streak grow to a season-high four games with an overtime win over Reading Thursday night. Having put themselves three points ahead of the Atlanta Gladiators, it would appear as though the bond that head coach Drake Berehowsky and his players have boasted of since the beginning of the season is finally starting to show its effects.
On Sunday afternoon, the Solar Bears are back at the Amway Center where they will seek a two-game sweep of the Royals to extend its win streak to five.
The Thursday night game would start out rough for Orlando, with Reading’s Mark Bennett getting the first goal of the game. Orlando, however, would strike twice in the second, as Adam Phillips got his first goal of the season off a screened shot from the blueline to tie it at one.
With the Solar Bears playing down a man, J. J. Piccinich got another one past Mark Dekanich to give the Solar Bears the lead. However, the lead would not last, as Matt Willows scored off a crazy puck bounce to tie the game back up two goals apiece. Orlando refused to enter the third tied at two, as Hunter Fejes scored at 19:29 of the second to give the Solar Bears a 3-2 lead.
During the third period, Reading’s Matt Wilkins scored on the power play to tie it up once again at three, sending the game into overtime. However, the overtime period did not last long at all, as Martins Dzierkals netted the overtime winner on a smooth wraparound move to give the Solar Bears the win 4-3.
With the team finally starting to play well, one might wonder if they are truly playoff ready. When asked about this, Dzierkals commented,
“I think this is our fourth win in a row, which is pretty good. I think we’re kind of finding our game right now, which is good. It’s about time. The playoffs are coming close and, we can’t stop, and we won’t stop. We just have to keep going.”
After closing out the season series against the Royals on Sunday, the team will head to Atlanta to face the Gladiators on Wednesday. The game against Atlanta will be a big one, and the team will be looking to build on the momentum they have been gaining against Reading.
During the post-game press conference, Berehowsky discussed the upcoming trade deadline. Last year, the Solar Bears made a big move which brought Justin Buzzeo to the team in exchange for Alex Gacek and a future consideration. This year, Berehowsky’s team seems to be gelling at the right time, and he seems to be taking a more conservative approach. He said,
“You know, we’re always looking, and I won’t tear this team apart. I like our team. I like the guys. There’s a chemistry in that [locker] room. So, you know, if there’s something available to us, we’ll explore that option, but, other than that, we’re just looking right now.”