ORLANDO – It seems like the Orlando Magic jerseys that the Solar Bears wore Friday night did something magical for them. They remain undefeated against the Wheeling Nailers after nine encounters. Call it luck, talent, coaching, or scrappiness—whatever way you dice it, Orlando managed to get the two points Friday night. Orlando would draw first blood, with Mike Monfredo opening the score just 4:17 into the first. That was just the opening of what would become a banner night for the seasoned Solar Bears blueliner.
The Solar Bears managed to keep it at 1-0 throughout the rest of the second but Wheeling would eventually come to tie it up 1:46 into the second. Freddie Tiffels got credit for the power play goal after taking the puck bouncing off the inboard due to a hard shot by teammate Dylan Zink. Orlando played with fire early in the game by getting called for penalties, and Wheeling, which ranks at the top of the league in power play percentage, inevitably made the Solar Bears pay.
Orlando would regain the lead a few minutes later, with Joe Perry scoring 3:12 in, with Max Novak and Alex Gudbranson gaining assists. However, Wheeling’s Cody Wydo would strike less than a minute later—shorthanded, no less—to tie it up again at 2. The Nailers were decidedly getting into the special teams groove.
J.J. Piccinich, however, turned the tide again for Orlando. He scored two more during the second to give the team a 4-2 lead. And Novak would put in the dagger when the Solar Bears went on the offense late in the third and Novak buried the puck at 18:38.
One of the more notable accomplishments about last night’s game was Monfredo’s performance. He picked up a goal and two assists and gaining the first star of the game. When questioned as to why his performance this season has been so stellar, Monfredo stated, “A lot of work in the offseason — you know, prepping myself for this season. And, obviously, it was showing a little bit out there.”
The Solar Bears will be back at it again bright and early Sunday morning, as they prepare for a 9:30 a.m. game Sunday against the Nailers. The three-game series against Wheeling will end Monday night. The Solar Bears are hoping that the magic will continue, leaving them with an 11-0 record against this mighty Nailers team.
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