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Checkers Edge Stingrays 5-4 In Overtime

By: Mike Kelly
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Blake Bellefeuille scored at 4:16 of overtime to provide the Charlotte Checkers with a 5-4 overtime win past the South Carolina Stingrays to pull the teams even for the fifth and final playoff spot in the South Division before 4,567 fans at the North Charleston Coliseum.

“It was nice to pick up a point tonight,” South Carolina coach Jason Fitzsimmons said. “That was a battle tonight with a playoff-type atmosphere. We’ll look to get two points at Gwinnett tomorrow.”

South Carolina (26-19-7, 59 points) got rolling on the power play at the 2:17 mark of the first period. Cail MacLean took a pass from Evan Schwabe and beat goaltender Chris Holt for his team-leading 21st goal of the season.

Charlotte (28-20-3, 59 points) tied the score at 1-1 at 4:06. Nathan Gillies converted on a feed from Daymen Rycroft getting the puck past netminder Davis Parley.

Gillies went back to work and notched his second of the game unleashing a shot from the right circle that went between the legs of Parley for his 12th of the campaign at 6:37. Kenton Smith and Mike Ouellette garnered assists.

Stingrays squared the game at 2-2 as Matt Stefanishion snapped home his 12th tally of the year from Schwabe and MacLean.

John Donnelly gave Charlotte a 3-2 lead at 17:40 of the second, netting his first goal of the season from Ouellette and Mark Lee.

In the third, Schwabe collected his 19th marker of the campaign from Stefanishion and MacLean to knot the game at 3-3.

Then T.J. McElroy moved South Carolina ahead 4-3 on a power play goal at 7:58. Chris Chaput and Peter Szabo picked up helpers.

Lee tied the score at 4-4 converting on a pass from Kenton Smith at 10:08.

In overtime, Bellefeuille deposited his 18th of the year from Bryan Rodney and Ryan Constant to give the Checkers the dramatic win.

South Carolina converted on 2-of-5 power play chances, while Charlotte went 1-for-5. Stingrays outshot the Checkers 41-38.

South Carolina takes to the road for a game at 7:35 p.m. tomorrow versus the Gwinnett Gladiators in Duluth, Georgia. Join Mike Kelly, “Voice of the Stingrays” to listen live on ESPN Radio 910 The Team and online at www.stingrayshockey.com beginning at 7:20 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 4 p.m. on Sunday against Charlotte at the North Charleston Coliseum. It’s Kids Day presented by the Carolina Ice Palace offering all kids 12-and-under a ticket for just $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. In addition, there are opportunities to win free Stingrays jerseys right off the players back, presented by Coke.

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!


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