CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kenton Smith scored a goal and added an assist to lead the Charlotte Checkers over the South Carolina Stingrays 3-2 before 6,071 at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena.
“That was a good battle between two evenly matched teams,” South Carolina coach Jason Fitzsimmons said. “They came out on top, but I liked our effort. Everyone played fairly well. We have to take the positives and look forward to returning home to play Dayton on Saturday.”
Early in the first period, Stingrays’ Matt W. Reid lost an edge in his own zone and as he was falling to the ice, he was accidentally clipped in the head by the Checkers’ Daymen Rycroft. Reid was alert but forced to leave the game and did not return.
Charlotte (25-16-3, 53 points) opened the score at the 11:18 mark off a blast from Smith beating goaltender Davis Parley, who was making his 20th straight start in the Stingrays net. Smith’s goal was his fourth of the season.
South Carolina (24-18-3, 51 points) tied the score at 1-1 on the penalty kill in the second period. Defenseman Sasha Pokulok, who was making his Stingrays debut, fed a pass ahead to Brendan Bernakevitch, who sent a wrist shot over the left shoulder of netminder Chris Holt for his team-leading fourth shorthand goal of the campaign and 12th tally overall.
Hugh Jessiman gave the Checkers a 2-1 lead at 15:21 of the middle stanza. Jessiman sent a backhand shot through Parley for his ninth goal of the year from Smith and Mike Ouellette.
At 6:45 of the third, Jan Vodrazka wired a shot from the slot for his third goal of the season, which was the eventual game-winner from Dan Murphy.
On a 5-on-3 power play, Bernakevitch ripped home his second goal of the game from Evan Schwabe at 16:23 but the Stingrays were unable to get the equalizer.
South Carolina converted on 1-of-6 power play chances, while Charlotte went 0-for-3. Checkers outshot the Stingrays 30-22.
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.
Join Mike Kelly, “Voice of the Stingrays” for live play-by-play action on Real 1340 and online at www.stingrayshockey.com beginning at 4:45 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.
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!