NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – With fans being turned away a half-hour prior to the game, the first sell-out crowd of 10,496 since October 24, 1998 at the North Charleston Coliseum, watched South Carolina forward Evan Schwabe score an overtime goal to lift the Stingrays past the Columbia Inferno 4-3 in overtime.
“The crowd was tremendous,” South Carolina coach Jason Fitzsimmons said. “The fans were like the seventh man and helped us to victory. It was an awesome finish to a great game.”
South Carolina (21-15-3, 45 points) started the scoring on the power play. Nate Kiser unleashed a slap shot from just inside the blueline beating goaltender Robert Gherson for his second goal of the season from All-Star T.J. McElroy and Matt W. Reid.
Columbia (15-19-5, 35 points) knotted up the score at 1-1 at 19:03 of the first as Steve McJannet ripped a shot on an odd-man rush sailing an unassisted shot over the right shoulder of netminder Davis Parley for his 10th tally of the campaign.
In the second, Tyson Marsh fed a lead pass to Luke Fulghum, who busted in on a breakaway and deked Parley for his 10th tally of the year at the 3:17 mark to give Columbia a 2-1 advantage.
Reid pulled the Stingrays back on even terms by scoring a nifty shorthand goal stepping around Jeff Miles then bulging the twine with a wrist shot from the left circle. Reid’s 13th goal of the campaign was assisted by Kiser and Cail MacLean.
Bryson Busniuk gave Columbia a 3-2 lead at 10:08 of the third period deflecting a blast from All-Star Mike Jarmuth. Chris Thompson also garnered an assist.
South Carolina took advantage of a 5-on-3 at the 12:04 mark. Reid deposited his second of the game from McElroy and Viktor Dovgan.
Then in overtime, Schwabe registered his 12th of the year in dramatic fashion beating Gherson in front of the Columbia net to give the Stingrays the win. Reid and McElroy picked up the helpers.
“The fans were amazing,” said Reid, who had four points on two goals and two assists. “The atmosphere was electric and they gave us the energy that we needed to pull out the win. We certainly appreciate the support from the fans.”
Parley collected the win for his league-leading and career-high 19th victory this season.
South Carolina converted on 2-of-7 power play chances, while Columbia went 0-for-2. Stingrays outshot the Inferno 36-31.
The Stingrays get back into action on the road for an 8:05 p.m. ET game on Thursday against the Texas Wildcatters at Ford Arena in Beaumont. Join Mike Kelly, “Voice of the Stingrays” for live play-by-play action on ESPN Radio 910 The Team and online at www.stingrayshockey.com beginning at 7:50 p.m. ET with the Benito’s Pregame Show. Watch the game live on the web telecast for $6 each at www.stingrayshockey.com, courtesy of B2 Networks.
South Carolina returns home for its next contest at a special 5 p.m. start time on Saturday, February 10 versus the Dayton Bombers at the North Charleston Coliseum. The Stingrays and Focus on the Family present “Faith and Fun Night” with a free postgame concert performed by “Big Daddy Weave” for everyone that purchases a ticket to the game.
Don’t miss the fast-paced, action-packed, family affordable fun! Partial season ticket packages and flex plans are available by calling (843) 744-2248.
Individual tickets can be purchased at the North Charleston Coliseum box office, by calling Ticketmaster at (843) 554-6060 and online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Discounted groups tickets, birthday packages, Kids Club information and fundraiser opportunities are available by calling (843) 744-2248 or by visiting online at www.stingrayshockey.com. Stingrays Hockey – A Whole Lot Cooler!