North Charleston, SC –The South Carolina Stingrays (29-9-2-4) scored a season-high eight goals to defeat the Reading Royals (22-15-1-3) 8-5 in front of 4,677 at North Charleston Coliseum Friday night. Stingrays forward Keith Johnson scored two goals and an assist androokie Trevor Bruess added three assists in the Stingrays’ fourth straight victory.
The Stingrays opened the scoring on the power play at 7:03 of the first period when Johnson fired a wrist shot under the glove of Royals goaltender Matt Dalton from the left-wing circle. Forward Trent Campbell and defenseman Nick Klaren registered assists on Johnson’s 17 goal of the season. Royals forward Andrew Sarauer tied the game at 9:38 from winger Bryan Ewing and defenseman Scott Langdon by slipping a shot between the legs of Stingrays goaltender Shane Connelly. Johnson reclaimed the lead for the Stingrays at 17:57 from forward Gregg Johnson and rookie Zach Jones. Less than a minute later G. Johnson gave the Stingrays a 3-1 lead tipping in a shot from Buress at 18:55. Rookie defenseman Jay Cascalenda earned the second assist on Johnson’s 12 goal of the season.
Stingrays forward Spencer Carbery continued the scoring into the second period at 5:59 blasting a one-time shot from forward Michael Dubuc beating Dalton high blocker-side from the bottom of the left-wing circle. The Royals responded with two goals to make it 4-3 heading into the third period. Royals forward Olivier Labelle capitalized on the power play at 13:01 from defenseman Eric Werner and forward Ryan Cruthers. A little over six minutes later, Sarauer was awarded a penalty shot after Dubuc hooked him from behind while on a shorthanded breakaway with Royals captain Dinos Stamoulis in the box for holding. Sarauer beat Connelly low stick-side at 19:09 to pull the game within one.
Six goals highlighted the third period with the Stingrays prevailing 8-5. Stingrays’ Dubuc started the period scoring on the power play just 23 seconds in blasting a shot over the left shoulder of Dalton from the right-wing point. Defenseman Nate Kiser and G.Johnson received assists. The Royals answered with a power-play goal of their own at 1:40 from Ben McLeod from Ewing and Werner.
The Stingrays reclaimed a two-goal lead at 4:46 as rookie Rob Ricci lit the lamp for his 16 goal of the season from Bruess and forward Matt Scherer. Reading’s McLeod found the twine for the second time at 10:17 to make it 6-5. Center Jimmy Fraser and Ewing received helpers. Seconds later, Stingrays rookie Dain Prewitt scored from Bruess and defenseman Grant Farrell at 10:35. Campbell sealed the victory for the Stingrays on the power play at 18:35 from K. Johnson and rookie Jake Hauswirth. The Stingrays finished the night 3-for-4 on the power play while the Royals ended the contest 2-for-7. Connelly earned his eighth win of the season stopping 33 of 38 Royals shots. Dalton suffers his 10 loss of the season kicking away 24 of 32 Stingrays opportunities.
The Stingrays battle the Reading Royals tomorrow night, Saturday, January 23 for Pack the House Night! For one night only, the curtains of North Charleston will be raised and every seat in the house is only $5! The lower level has completely sold out and less than 1,000 upper level seats remain! There is also FREE PARKING! In addition to Pack the House Night,the Stingrays will host a special ceremony to presentthe 2009 Kelly Cup Championship rings to the returning Stingrays players from that championship team. Do not miss out on this amazing experience! Also, starting at 4 p.m., stop by the Booster Club Tailgate fundraiser in Parking Lot A where they will be selling plates of food for $5. Visit www.stingrayshockey.com or call (843) 744-2248 today to get your tickets before you get stuck in the rafters! For all the latest Stingrays news, visit www.stingrayshockey.com