by Rob Boylan
The Orlando Solar Bears have clinched a spot in the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs, thanks in part to league leading goal scorer Mickey Lang, whose 44 goals lead the next best skater by 14 (his 76 points leaves him third in the league in that category).
The Bears -- who are the ECHL affiliate of both the Minnesota Wild and Toronto Maple Leafs -- sit in 4th place currently, which would afford them home ice advantage in the first round against either the Cincinnati Cyclones or the Greenville Road Warriors, but seeding is not set yet.
Seeding is the same as the NHL, meaning the three division champions in the East get the 1-2-3 seed preference, so Orlando can only be seeded as high as 4th as they will finish second in the division. If they win out, they will hold on to fourth, but could drop into a lower spot on start on the road as well.
Either way, the club have put playoff tickets on sale for the TBD dates for the first round on their website.
The Solar Bears took three points over the weekend (1-0-1) to finish the season in fourth place. They will face the fifth place Cincinnati Cyclones in the playoffs, and have home advantage in the first round. Here is the schedule for the match up:
#4 Orlando Solar Bears (43-24-5) vs. #5 Cincinnati Cyclones (41-32-8)
Game 1 – Thursday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando/Amway Center
Game 2 – Sunday, April 20 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando/Amway Center
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 23 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati/U.S. Bank Arena
Game 4 – Friday, April 25 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati/U.S. Bank Arena
Game 5 – Saturday, April 26 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati/U.S. Bank Arena (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 29 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando/Amway Center (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando/Amway Center (If Necessary)