By Mike Bonts
JACKSONVILLE (Florida Sports Wire) – The Jacksonville Icemen (30-15-2-0), coming off a home overtime loss, bounced back with a 3-2 overtime win over the Orlando Solar Bears (23-20-6-1) Wednesday night before 5,376 at Veterans Memorial Arena.
Defensemen Brandon Fortunato in his first game back in two weeks from injury scored his fourth goal of the season for the win.
With Connor Russel in the box for boarding, the Solar Bears got on the board with a power play goal from Ross Olsson (23) to open the third frame.
Bennett MacArthur tied the game at two apiece with his fourth goal of the campaign. MacArthur picked up an assist on Olsson’s goal.
Orlando trailed 2-0 going into the final period. Tim Theocharidis (5) and Craig Martin (10) tallied for the Icemen.
The Solar Bears warded off a 5 on 3 power play in the first period. Jacksonville is 11-2 in overtime contests this season.
Charles Williams made 28 saves for the Icemen. Garret Sparks stopped 25 shots for Orlando.
(SportsDay photo by Nancy Beecher/Florida Sports Wire)
Pelech Sets ECHL Career Games-Played Record
Atlanta Gladiators’ forward Mike Pelech set the ECHL record for career games played on Tuesday when he took the ice for his 860th league game against South Carolina.
Pelech breaks the record of 2018 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee Sam Ftorek, who played in 859 career ECHL games over 15 seasons from 1998-2018.
Pelech has played 14 seasons in the ECHL with Ontario, Toledo, Cincinnati, Utah, Norfolk, Reading, Greenville, Wheeling, Indy and Atlanta. He ranks third all-time in ECHL history with 457 assists – just three behind Chris Valicevic for second all-time – and is fourth in league history with 655 points.
Pelech is two goals shy of becoming the 28th player in league history to score at least 200 goals.
Moore Powers Past Stingrays Past Gladiators
The South Carolina Stingrays (28-12-4-1) defeated the Atlanta Gladiators (24-18-5-1) by a final score of 5-3 at Gas South Arena.
South Carolina took the first lead of the contest 4:05 into the opening stanza on Jackson Leppard’s sixth goal of the season. Matt Anderson doubled the lead 1:17 later with a snipe from inside the left circle.
Atlanta cut the deficit in half at the 9:13 mark of the first period on a power play goal from Sanghoon Shin. Tyler Kobryn evened the score 55 seconds later on his sixth tally of the year.
The Gladiators’ Kaid Oliver netted a breakaway goal for the 3-2 lead.
Anthony Del Gaizo tied the game at three goals apiece.
Connor Moore gave the Stingrays the final lead on the power play. Leppard collected a loose puck in the offensive zone and sent a shot into the empty net.
League Announces Weekly Honors
Justin Vaive of the Cincinnati Cyclones is the Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week for Feb. 6-12. Vaive scored five goals in three games last week, as the Cyclones swept a three-game southern road trip. The 33-year-old scored a pair of goals in a 6-1 win at Savannah on Friday and in a 5-3 victory at Atlanta on Saturday before adding a goal in a 6-5 win against the Gladiators on Sunday.
Shane Starrett of the Kansas City Mavericks is the Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Feb. 6-12. It is the second time this season that he has received the weekly honor. Starrett went 3-0-0 with one shutout, a 1.31 goals-against average and a save percentage of .958 in three appearances against Wichita last week. The 28-year-old made 36 saves in a 5-1 win on Tuesday, turned aside 31 shots in a 4-3 victory on Friday and stopped all 24 shots he faced in a 3-0 win on Saturday.
ECHL Announces Bellevue University Scholarship Recipients
The ECHL announced the second class of five recipients of scholarships through Bellevue University, the Official Higher Education Partner of the ECHL.
As part of the recently extended partnership, all ECHL players, officials, staff and employees were eligible to apply for a scholarship to start or finish a bachelor’s or graduate degree program of their choice at Bellevue University.
The 2022-23 class of scholarship recipients includes:
Alex Cousineau, Assistant Coach – Trois-Rivières Lions (Graduate Degree)
Matthew Heinen, Linesman – ECHL (Graduate Degree)
Kyle Neuber, Player – Florida Everblades (Graduate Degree)
Nelson Roetter, Ticket Sales Account Executive – Indy Fuel (Graduate Degree)
Zachary Walker, Player – Idaho Steelheads (Graduate Degree)
(Mike Bonts covers hockey for SportsDay and the Florida Sports Wire)