Atlanta bests Orlando 5-4 on Saturday and 4-2 Sunday afternoon

The Orlando Solar Bears opened the home portion of the schedule in front of an announced crowd of 9,319 at the Amway Center.  Jeff King had a goal and two assists to lead the Solar Bears and was second star of the game.  Chris Crane added a goal and an assist as well and was third star.  Josh Winquist and Max Novak were the other goal scorers for Orlando.  You can review the game box score here.

After the game, Head Coach Drake Berehowsky was asked about the team’s performance.  “I was disappointed.  Obviously you want to come out, and you want to win a game, but we did have some signs of the way we want to play, but we didn’t do it for sixty minutes.”  Berehowsky was also critical of the defensive effort from the team, “…our first job as a defenseman is to protect our end and to play defense.  And jumping into the play is secondary.  We want our guys to join, but not to lead.”  Later in the press availability Berehowsky said “…all the goals came from turnovers and we have to be better in that area.

Coach Berehowsky, and both players Chris Crane and Jeff King all commented on the atmosphere for opening night.  The raucous crowd had to wait for the start of the game as it was delayed for approximately 20 minutes do to issues with the ice.

Sunday’s post-game comments from Coach Berehowsky echoed those from Saturday.  “We want our D to join the offense, not lead it.”  Despite those comments, the Bears goals were scored by D Mike Monfredo, assisted by Josh Winquist and Kenton Helgesen, and D Nolan Valleau assisted by  Mike Vaskivuo.  Sunday’s box score is available here.

The Solar Bears outshot the Gladiators 38 to 26 for the game, in a similar fashion as Saturday (43-19 Bears).  “We played more in structure tonight (Sunday)” Berehowsky said, holding Atlanta to only 18 shots.  “...we have to work on our scoring touch and being able to get inside the paint and finish off some plays.”

With regards to the goaltending situation, he was non-committal on the future of Jonah Imoo; “…it’s always good, I believe to have two goalies that push each other and make sure they hold each other accountable, we’re going to keep our eye out and not going to jump at anything.  Hopefully something comes to fruition, and we can go from there.”

Orlando continues the home stand Wednesday and Saturday against in-state rivals the Florida Everblades.