ORLANDO, Fla. – Following their 4-2 victory over the Worcester Railers on Thursday, the Orlando Solar Bears looked to get another victory with a win on Friday. However, that win would not come for Orlando. After an opening five minutes dominated by the Solar Bears, the Railers got on track, and the Solar Bears just weren’t able to keep up.
Worcester’s Tommy Kelley would give the Railers the first goal, getting assistance from Yanick Turcotte at 5:53 of the first. Moments later, Matt Lane of the Railers would strike on the power play at 8:53 of the first to give Worcester a 2-0 lead. Things didn’t get any better heading into the second, as Barry Almeida and Kyle McKenzie would strike again to extend the Railers lead to 4-0. Orlando’s Max Novak would get the sole goal for the Solar Bears in the third period, as Worcester would eventually take the game 4-1.
In both the Nailers and Railers series, the Bears have taken the first game handily, but have been unable to take the second. One might ask the question: What has gone wrong? While the 9:30 a.m. puck drop last Saturday against Wheeling might have contributed to a sluggish start in game two of that series, last night’s game involved your standard 7 p.m. start. But, this pattern of winning a game one and then losing the next game or two is not a pattern that head coach Drake Berehowsky likes. This season, Solar Bears have failed to get a win streak beyond three, and they seem to be unable to break a .500 average. They are still holding onto the final playoff berth in the South Division, but that is partly because the Greenville Swamp Rabbits are skidding.
When asked about why the team has been struggling, Berehowsky stated,
“We talk about it. We let the players know how important these games are—how important it is to get on a little bit of a roll here. We have to change our way of thinking. We maybe have to get the negativity out of there: It seems like our guys are getting down really fast. We can’t be like that. No matter what happens, we have the ability to score some goals, and we’ve just gotta stick to it. We can’t stray when we get behind. We’ve gotta work to get our opportunities.”
The Solar Bears take on the Railers once more on Saturday night for the series-deciding game. Should the Solar Bears win, the team will regain some winning momentum which it will sorely need heading into the next series against Florida Everblades which begins on Wednesday.
With the win on Thursday, Berehowsky became the winningest coach in Solar Bears franchise history. Berehowsky attributes his longevity to his attitude and sense of perspective. About his approach as a professional coach, he said,
“I try to be as honest as I can. I love being around the players; I love teaching them. I think honesty is the best policy, and I’ve been lucky to be part of this organization.”