When the Orlando Solar Bears won their first two games of the Western Hockey League playoffs, their season had become a reality.
The Orlando Solar have now won three straight regular-season and two playoff series, including a series sweep over the Erie Otters on Saturday.
The Lions have won the last three meetings between the teams, with both wins coming by three goals or less.
“It was great for our players, it was great to see them grow as a team, and the way we won the series was amazing,” Lions coach Brad Haggs said.
“They’re a tough team.
The Solar, the top seed in the league and the team’s best shot at advancing, were upset by Erie in the quarterfinals and advanced to the second round.”
I’m excited for our guys to get back to work.”
The Solar, the top seed in the league and the team’s best shot at advancing, were upset by Erie in the quarterfinals and advanced to the second round.
Otters coach Dan Curnow, who played for the Lions when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006, was impressed with his team’s ability to defend and find the back of the net.
“They’ve got a good team,” Curno said.
“(The Lions) played a lot of good hockey and I thought their defensive game was pretty good.”
The Lions’ defence has been key to the success of the Solar in their first four series.
The Otters have scored just five goals over that stretch, with the Lions allowing seven.
“The best defence is a good offence, and we can’t play good defence,” said Orlando defenceman Andrew Nielsen.
“We have to score.
We’re not going to win without scoring.
We have to be really, really good on our penalty kill.”
The teams will face each other again in the next two series, which begin Friday.
Curnow and Hagges will likely need to play some of their best players in the series to get their team back on track.
“We’re in good shape,” Crain said.
“I think it’s really important for us to be mentally prepared to face each of our games.
We’ve played a couple of games and it’s not as close as we thought it would be.
I think we’re pretty well-prepared.”
The two teams will meet again in Round 2, which will take place on Friday night.