The Solar Bears completed the sweep of the Brampton Beast Sunday afternoon, winning the final game 3-0. This was their fifth win in six games, which is critical for a team in the Bears position, only a few points out of the playoffs in the ECHL standings.
Solar Bears' coach Anthony Noreen said they achieved what their goals for this road trip. "We made a goal when we started this trip that we wanted to come out of it with ourselves in the thick of the playoff race. Obviously, to come out with five out of six... it was a good road trip overall."
Game three of the Beast series was an afternoon game, drawing a solid crowd of 3.140 to the Powerade Centre.
Jack Rodewald kicked off scoring at the first period, getting the puck past Beast goalie Jordan Ruby. The second period had scoring chances, and a power play for the Bears, but neither side actually got the puck in the net. The next goal was at 16:17 in the third period by Austin Block, with assists from Erik Bradford and Rory Rawlyk. It was Block's fifth goal of the season; his second since joining the Bears.
"When it comes down to the end of the season it's not really about how you do it, it's just that you do it." said Bears' goaltender Rob Madore. "I thought the guys did a good job. They filled lanes when we needed it, they took away some passes, and made my life simple. "
Simple may be an understatement. Madore turned away 31 shots to earn his first shutout of the season as a Solar Bear. He also earned a shutout in one of his 4 games played this season as a Toronto Marlie.
The Bears now head back home to host a three game series with the Adirondack Thunder. Following that series, and through to the end of their regular season on April 9th, they will play 10 games, including 5 against state rival Florida Everblades.
"We've been a really good team and a really tough team to beat on the road, and for whatever reason it hasn't always been the same at home." said Noreen, referring to the Bears having 17 of their 28 wins this season happen away from their home rink in Orlando.
"It's a very good Adirondack team coming in to play us. We've got to take a little bit of what we've done this season on the road and figure out how to do it at home."
The Bears have only played the Thunder once so far this season, losing 2-4 in October. They currently have 64 points. The last playoff slot in the Eastern Conference is presently held with 68 points, so every game is a must win.
You may recall we made a bet with Habs Eyes on the Prize that they would have to change their Twitter logo to the PPP logo if the Solar Bears defeated the Beast in the series. Well it's happening! We'll update this space when the change is made!
It's here, and it's beautiful!