NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Derek Damon scored twice in the shootout including the deciding goal in the 14th round to give the Florida Everblades a 5-4 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays before 8,066 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
“It was a great game but a tough ending,” South Carolina assistant coach Jared Bednar said. “Florida is a very skilled hockey club and they capitalized on our mistakes. We have to be mentally stronger tomorrow to upend the Everblades.”
South Carolina (26-18-5, 57 points) hit stride at 2:23 of the first period. Scott Romfo snapped a shot from the left point that found its way behind goaltender Craig Kowalski for his fourth goal of the season. Matt Stefanishion and Evan Schwabe garnered assists.
Florida (31-15-2, 64 points) tied the score at 1-1, as Brad Zancanaro converted a pass in front beating netminder Daren Machesney at 4:01. Helpers went to Vince Bellissimo and Adam Taylor.
Bellissimo gave Florida a 2-1 lead at the 18:23 mark of the first netting his 15th goal of the campaign from Taylor and Zancanaro.
In the second, Schwabe registered his 18th goal of the year from Cail MacLean and Sasha Pokulok on the power play to knot the game at 2-2.
Everblades went ahead at 15:23 on the second goal of the game by Bellissimo, assisted by Damon.
Stingrays tied the score again with 23 seconds left in the middle stanza, as Peter Szabo batted in the puck at the side of the net for his ninth of the campaign from Pokulok and Chris Chaput.
Just 31 seconds into the third period, Matt Stefanishion stole the puck from Brett Peterson to snap home his 11th goal of the season giving South Carolina a 4-3 lead.
Florida was pressing for the equalizer and Adam Taylor got the Everblades back on even terms at 17:32 by netting his 13th goal of the year. Assists went to Bellissimo and Ryan Brindley.
In the shootout, the Stingrays had goals from Stefanishion, Szabo, Schwabe, Brendan Bernakevitch and Jarrett Konkle, while the Everblades received tallies off the sticks of Brad Parsons, Bellissimo, Zancanaro, Dustin Johner and Damon with a pair including the game-winner in the 14th round.
South Carolina went 1-for-6 on the power play, while Florida failed to convert on five opportunities. Everblades outshot the Stingrays 32-28.
The Stingrays go head-to-head with Florida again at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the North Charleston Coliseum. It’s Scout Day and Kids Day presented by the Ice Palace offering all kids 12-and-under a ticket for $5 each. The promotion also includes a “Postgame Skate with the Rays” and it’s Dogs Days of Winter, where fans can bring their dog to the game.
For live-play-by-play action join Mike Kelly, “Voice of the Stingrays” on ESPN Radio 910 The Team and online at www.stingrayshockey.com beginning at 3:45 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!