ORLANDO, Fla. – Solar Bears’ Head Coach Drake Berehowsky is managing to pull off a trifecta again this year. In addition to a stable of straight ECHL-contracted players and others being sent down through the Tampa Bay Lightning organization (Orlando’s NHL affiliate), the club continues to draw on a steady stream of skaters from the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.
On Sunday, the club announced that the Barracuda were loaning three players to Orlando: Forwards Ivan Kosorenkov and Tristin Langan are being sent along with goaltender Zach Sawchenko.
Langan and Sawchenko are rookies who were standouts at the major junior level playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. Both were named to the WHL First All-Star Team. Sawchenko achieved that feat twice in his WHL career.
Langan brings plenty of offensive potential to Orlando. Last year, he racked up a total of 113 points (53 goals, 60 assists) and nearly 90 penalty minutes during his 67 games with Moose Jaw.
Kosorenkov looks to bring some added firepower to the Solar Bears. In his last season in the major juniors, he tallied 145 points in 131 games.
Sawchenko is an equally valuable asset to Orlando’s roster. Also making his professional debut with San Jose, the 6’1’’ goaltender tallied up a record of 28-4-1 with a .919 save percentage and a 1.79 goals against average during his time spent with the University of Alberta.
Berehowsky now has four goalies in his arsenal, so he has some sorting to do. On Saturday, the team announced that Zach Fucale was being loaned to the team from the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay’s AHL team) and Spencer Martin was reassigned to Orlando by Syracuse. Fucale and Martin have played at both the AHL and ECHL levels. Along with Clint Windsor, Berehowsky has a four-of-a-kind when it comes to netminding aces in his hand. Unfortunately for Berehowsky and the Solar Bears, this is hockey and not poker, and he’s going to have to sift through his riches in the coming weeks.
In addition to the flurry of Barracuda and Bolts news, the Solar Bears also announced the signing of forward Brent Pedersen for the upcoming season. The left-wing forward returns to Orlando after getting released from training camp by the Manitoba Moose.
Before the news this week, Orlando had already announced the signing of three players (forwards Colby McAuley and Alex Schoenborn and blueliner Cody Donaghey) who came to the team from San Jose last year. Berehowsky is making a name for himself as a solid development coach, and he is also establishing Orlando as a place where players want to stay and play.
Preseason play for the Solar Bears kicks off on Friday and Saturday at the Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida, where the team will take on its in-state rivals the Florida Everblades. The Sin Bin will be on site for those tilts, so you can expect a report of how the team looks as it heads to its home opener against the South Carolina Stingrays on Oct. 12.
Robbie Boerth contributed to this article. Robbie and Chad cover the Orlando Solar Bears for the Sin Bin and you can follow them on Twitter @SinBinSolarBear.