Duluth, GA – Playing in his first game since February 22, Nate Kiser recorded a Gordie Howe hat-trick with a goal, an assist and a fight, helping the South Carolina Stingrays to a 6-1 victory over the Gwinnett Gladiators.
“I though Kiser played one of his best games all year,” said Head Coach Jared Bednar. “It wasn’t as lopsided a game as the score said, but I thought we played really well tonight.”
The Rays took the early lead in this one on Jeff Corey’s 18th goal of the season. After going on the penalty kill just :15 seconds into the game, the Rays killed off their first power play of the night and found Matt Scherer heading out of the penalty box. Corey was fed the puck going into the zone and took a wrist shot from the near side circle that trickled in behind goalie Josh Johnson. The goal was assisted by Scherer and Pierre-Luc O’Brien at 2:21. Later in the period, the Rays and Gladiators were skating and four on four, and Patrick Wellar got his first goal as a member of the Rays. Wellar took a shot from the far side half boards that made its way through traffic and through a screened Johnson. The goal, Wellar’s second overall on the season, came at 6:52 and was assisted by Travis Morin.
The Rays picked up where they left off in the second period when David Grimson registered his first professional goal at 7:01 to make it a 3-0 game. The goal came off a perfect pass in front of the net by Maxime Lacroix who got the lone assist on the goal. Just 2:05 later, Keith Johnson picked up his 20th goal of the season making it a 4-0 lead for the Rays. The goal came at 9:06 and was assisted by Morin and Nate Kiser. After giving up four goals, Josh Johnson was removed from the net in favor of Joe Fallon. In the final two minutes of the period, Brandon Kaleniecki got his ninth goal of the year to make it a 4-1 game. South Carolina was not done, however. With just :32 seconds left to go in the period, Spencer Carbery and Kiser broke into the zone on a two on one. Carbery fed a beautiful pass to Kiser who buried it behind Fallon to make it a 5-1 game going into the third period.
The Rays padded their lead in the third period with Morin’s 24th goal of the season. At 1:04 of the period, Lacroix found Johnson whose shot was tipped by Fallon into the air. Morin was able to swat the puck out of mid-air and into the back of the net to make it a 6-1 score, the eventual final.
The winning goalie was Jonathan Boutin who stopped 39 of the 40 shots he faced. The losing goaltender was Josh Johnson who stopped 11 of the 15 shots he faced in 29:06 of play. Fallon stopped 11 of the 13 shots he faced in 30:54, but did not factor into the decision. The Rays went 0-2 on the power play while killing off all four short handed situations they faced.
The Rays will be back in action tomorrow night, for game two of this two game series against the Gwinnett Gladiators. Game time will be at 7:05. You can tune in to ESPN Radio 910 the Team for all the action starting with the Benitos Pre-game show beginning at 6:50. And don’t forget, the final Stingrays home game of the regular season is next week on Sunday, March 29th. It’s Fan Appreciation Night at the North Charleston Coliseum; come support the Rays as they prepare for the Kelly Cup Playoffs!! For ticket information call the Stingrays office at 744-2248.
South Carolina Stingrays 6 at Gwinnett Gladiators 1 - Status: Final
Mar 27, 2009 - The Arena at Gwinnett Center
South Carolina 2 3 1 - 6
Gwinnett 0 1 0 - 1
1st Period-1, South Carolina, Corey 18 (Scherer, O'Brien), 2:21. 2, South Carolina, Wellar 2 (Morin), 6:52. Penalties-Scherer Sc (interference), 0:15; Godfrey Sc (boarding), 3:42; Grimson Sc (high-sticking - double), 4:06; served by Kaleniecki Gwt (bench - too many men), 6:01.
2nd Period-3, South Carolina, Johnson 20 (Lacroix), 7:01. 4, South Carolina, Johnson 21 (Morin, Kiser), 9:06. 5, Gwinnett, Kaleniecki 9 (Fuller, Brandt), 18:36. 6, South Carolina, Kiser 7 (Carbery), 19:28. Penalties-Carbery Sc (fighting - major), 1:33; Cava Gwt (fighting - major), 1:33; Scherer Sc (interference), 2:57.