COLUMBIA, S.C. – Stephen Werner scored the game-winning goal with 49 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the South Carolina Stingrays past the Columbia Inferno 4-3 in front of 3,286 at the Carolina Coliseum.
“We competed hard and it was great to win in regulation,” South Carolina coach Jason Fitzsimmons said. “Werner really stepped up in the clutch using his speed and skill in the final minute to score the winner. It was a physical game and we’re happy to come away with the two points.”
South Carolina (24-17-3, 51 points) hit stride on the penalty kill in the first period at the 1:37 mark. Cam McCaffrey deposited a shorthand goal beating the goaltender Todd Ford for his ninth goal of the season from Brendan Bernakevitch and Scott Romfo.
Columbia (16-22-7, 39 points) responded on a power play later in the first. Owen Fussey beat Davis Parley on a rebound in close to net his team-leading 16th goal of the campaign. Assists went to Tyson Marsh and Mike Jarmuth.
Still in the first period, Inferno’s Brad Ralph sent the puck from outside the South Carolina blue line and it handcuffed Parley to give Columbia a 2-1 lead at 19:10. Jarmuth and Marsh collected their second helpers of the game.
With 10 seconds left in the first, Columbia’s captain Chris Thompson speared the Stingrays’ Matt Stefanishion, who went down to the ice immediately. Stefanishion then got up and slammed Thompson to the ice. Thompson was given the additional five-minute major for spearing.
On the ensuing power play, the Stingrays took advantage 37 seconds into the second period. Evan Schwabe netted his 15th tally of the year from Matt W. Reid and Bernakevitch.
Reid gave South Carolina a 3-2 lead snapping home his team-leading 19th goal coming at the 16:01 mark of the middle stanza. Helpers went to Peter Szabo and Chris Chaput.
In the third, Mike Vellinga unleashed with a slapshot on the power play at 6:25 bulging the twine for his second of the game to tie the score at 3-3. Luke Fulghum and Ralph garnered helpers.
It stayed that way until the final minute of regulation. Stingrays’ Werner swooped into the Columbia zone and buried a wraparound for the game-winning goal at the 19:11 mark for his sixth of the campaign. Szabo and T.J. McElroy picked up assists.
South Carolina converted on 1-of-6 power play opportunities, while Columbia went 3-for-7. Stingrays outshot the Inferno 33-29.
South Carolina wraps up its season-high six-game road trip with a game at 7 p.m. on Thursday versus the Charlotte Checkers at Charlotte Bobcats Arena. 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 6:45 p.m. 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.
The Stingrays next home game is at a special 5 p.m. start time on Saturday against the Dayton Bombers at the North Charleston Coliseum. In association with Young and Associates, 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! Purchase your flex tickets today. You pick the games; you pocket the savings! For more information call (843) 744-2248 to speak to a ticket sales manager.
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!