Stephane Legault scored twice in his pro debut and Jonathan Charbonneau added two power play goals as the South Carolina Stingrays (31-30-5-1) completed a two-game sweep of the Kansas City Mavericks (32-27-3-2) with a 5-3 win on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The victory gives South Carolina wins in three straight games, and puts the team ahead of the Atlanta Gladiators by four points for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. In addition, combined with a win by Norfolk on Friday, the Stingrays are just two points back of the Jacksonville Icemen for third place.
Goaltender Parker Milner has been in net for SC during all three recent wins and picked up his 16th victory of the season on Friday with 30 saves. The Stingrays outshot Kansas City for the second consecutive game, posting a 45-33 shots-on-goal advantage.
KC’s Corey Durocher scored twice in the first period, giving the Mavericks a 2-1 advantage after one. The forward’s goals came at 11:06 and 18:46 of the opening frame.
Charbonneau had the lone tally for the Rays in the first, scoring his first of the night on the power play at 14:44 with an assist by defender Steve Johnson. The blueliner kept the puck in at the top of the offensive zone and dished it to Charbonneau who one-timed it into the top right corner of the net.
Legault tied the game up at 2-2 in the middle period with his first professional goal at 8:32, finishing a play that both of his linemates had a big part of. Grant Besse started the rush with speed through the neutral zone and made a backhand pass to lead Jordan Samuels-Thomas into the KC end. The big forward drove to the front of the net and although he was unable to finish, Legault was right behind him to clean up on the play, stretching out with one hand on his stick to poke the puck into the net.
The game was still tied up at the second intermission, but the Rays came into the third with a power play after a late boarding penalty at 19:41 of the second to Darian Dziurzynski. On their ensuing opportunity, Charbonneau scored his second man-advantage tally of the night 26 seconds in, using a wrist shot to beat goaltender Nick Schneider and give South Carolina their first lead of the night at 3-2. Assists on the goal went to Besse and Johnson.
Legault, who was signed by the Stingrays on Wednesday, added to the advantage at 13:05 of the third when he knocked home a feed from forward Cam Askew during a 2-on-1. Forward Tad Kozun earned the second assist on the play which extended the lead to 4-2.
But Durocher wasn’t done for KC as the forward scored his third goal of the night just over a minute later at 14:12 to cut the Stingrays’ lead back to one goal at 4-3.
The Mavericks continued to put pressure on South Carolina and forced a delay of game penalty to defenseman Miles Liberati at 17:51 of the third. KC pulled Schneider in favor of an extra attacker to give themselves a 6-on-4 advantage, but defender Joey Leach shot the puck into the empty net at 18:34 to put the Stingrays back on top by two goals and seal the victory.
Schneider made 40 total saves in a losing effort for the Mavericks, who were held off the board on the power play, finishing 0-for-4. With Charbonneau’s pair of man-advantage tallies, South Carolina ended at 2-for-5.
The Stingrays head to Greenville Saturday for their final matchup of the season with the Swamp Rabbits at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena at 7 p.m. South Carolina returns to the North Charleston Coliseum on March 30 for a matchup with the Orlando Solar Bears at 7:05 p.m. 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.