Behind rookie Michael Dubuc’s first professional hat trick, the South Carolina Stingrays defeated the Florida Everblades 4-1 Saturday night before 5,466 fans at Germain Arena in Estero, FL. The win puts the Rays (2-1, 4 points) in a three-way tie with for third place in the ECHL’s South Division, along with the Everblades (2-2, 4 points) and Charlotte Checkers.
“We took it to another level,” Stingrays Head Coach Jared Bednar said. “I thought we came out of the gates right away, competing hard and just giving that little extra effort it takes to win hockey games.”
Dubuc got the visitors on the scoreboard first, crashing the net and pocketing at a power-play goal at 13:22 of the first period. Josh Godfrey, a 2nd round draft pick of the Washington Capitals in 2007 who was assigned earlier in the day by the Hershey Bears, earned an assist on the goal, as did Travis Morin.
Dubuc added even strength markers at 9:33 of the second and 15:00 of the third period to complete the hat trick. Another South Carolina rookie, defenseman Johann Kroll, collected assists on both goals.
Ross Carlson spoiled Stingrays goaltender Josh Johnson’s shutout bid with a five-on-five goal at 11:23 of the third stanza. It was the second straight night the former Texas Wildcatter potted a lamp-lighter.
Keith Johnson put the finishing touches on South Carolina’s first road win of the 2008-09 campaign, depositing an empty-net goal at 19:54 of the third period.
“I loved the way we played tonight,” Bednar said. “If we can do that on a consistent basis we’re going to win a lot of hockey games.”
Johnson (1-1) redeemed himself after a lackluster performance in Friday’s 5-3 loss, stopping 27 shots for his first victory of the season. David Leggio (1-1) suffered the loss for Florida with 42 saves.
South Carolina returns to the North Charleston Coliseum next Friday and Saturday for a pair of contests against the Everblades. Face-off for each game is slated for 7:05 pm.
South Carolina 1 2 1--4
Florida 0 0 1--1
FIRST PERIOD – Scoring: 1, SC, Dubuc 2 (power-play) (Morin, Godfrey), 13:22. Penalties: Grenzy, FLA (interference), 1:50; Kelly, SC (holding), 5:02; FLA bench, served by Herauf, (too many men), 11:42; Fournier, FLA (tripping), 13:46; Pinizzotto, SC (roughing), 20:00.
SECOND PERIOD – Scoring: 2, SC, Dubuc 3 (game-winner) (Kroll), 9:43. 3, SC, Dubuc 4 (Morin, Kroll), 15:00. Penalties: Kiser, SC (fighting major), 2:04; Herauf, FLA (fighting major), 2:04; Scherer, SC (high-sticking), 4:32; Herauf, FLA (goaltender interference), 15:27.
THIRD PERIOD – Scoring: 4, FLA, Carlson 2 (Baker, Herauf), 11:23. 5, SC, Johnson 1 (empty-net) (unassisted, 19:54. Penalties: Lacroix, SC (hooking), 2:49; Baker, FLA (cross-checking), 5:04; Kiser, SC (delay of game), 12:37; Kiser, SC (fighting major), 19:56; Grenzy, FLA (fighting major), 19:56.
Notes: South Carolina finished 1-5 on the power-play, while Florida ended at 0-5 … The Stingrays outshot the Everblades 46-28 … Godfrey had an assist and 19 penalty minutes in two games this season with the Bears … Dubuc finished with a game-high 11 shots … Trent Campbell was the last Stingrays player to record a hat trick, registering a trio of goals last Apr. 4 against Charlotte … D Nate Kiser earned two fighting majors in the game, dropping the gloves with Florida’s Brad Herauf and Michael Grenzy … Ds Viktor Dovgan and Scott Romfo and Fs Jeff MacDermid, Jeff Rainville and Tom Maxwell were scratched from the Stingrays lineup … 3 Stars of the Game: (1) Dubuc, (2) J. Johnson, (3) Morin … Referee: Ryan Sweeney.
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