The South Carolina Stingrays (32-31-5-1) were unable to hang on to a 2-goal lead in the third period and fell to the Orlando Solar Bears (37-25-4-1) by a final score of 3-2 on Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Patrick Gaul hit the back of the net in his first game after returning from injury, while Mason Mitchell scored for the second straight contest. Mitchell now has points in five of his six games with SC this season. Stingrays’ goaltender Parker Milner turned aside 30 saves in a losing effort.
South Carolina (70 points) is currently two points behind the Atlanta Gladiators (72 points) for the final playoff spot in the South Division.
The Rays broke the ice late in the first when Gaul stole the puck in the offensive zone and quickly fired a backhand shot through the legs of goaltender Connor Ingram for his 10th goal of the year to give SC a 1-0 advantage at 18:28.
South Carolina added on in the second and extended their lead to 2-0 at 5:41 of the middle period. After Jonathan Charbonneau hit the left post with a wrist shot, Mason Mitchell picked up the rebound and fired it to the top right corner of the net for his fifth goal in six games with the Stingrays this year. In addition to Charbonneau, a second assist was credited to defender Ryker Killins.
But Orlando owned the third and scored three straight times to come from behind and claim the contest. Tayler Thompson got the Solar Bears on the board at 1:47 and cut the SC lead to 2-1 before Chris LeBlanc evened the game at 2-2 with a tally at 5:21.
Later on in the third Alex Schoenborn deflected a shot by Michael Brodzinski past Milner at 10:39 to put Orlando in front, 3-2. The strike ended up deciding the game and was the difference maker for the Solar Bears.
Ingram earned the win in between the pipes with 34 saves for Orlando. The Stingrays outshot the Solar Bears by a 37-33 margin in the contest and both teams were unable to score on the power play with Orlando ending at 0-for-4 and South Carolina finishing at 0-for-5.
The Stingrays are right back on the ice Sunday afternoon for a 3:05 p.m. game against the Atlanta Gladiators at the North Charleston Coliseum. Tickets are on sale now!
To bring your group to the game, call the Stingrays Front Office at 843-744-2248! For single game tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.