The Orlando Solar Bears scored three goals in the second period and held on in the third for a 4-1 defeat of the South Carolina Stingrays Friday night to take a 3-1 lead in the teams’ South Division Semifinals series after Game 4 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Forward Jonathan Charbonneau had the lone goal for the Stingrays, his second in as many games. SC goaltender Parker Milner stopped 27 shots in a strong effort despite suffering the loss.
The Solar Bears had control of the play in the first period and outshot the Rays 12-5 but neither team was able to get on the scoreboard during the opening frame.
But Orlando broke through in the second, scoring three times to open up the game in their favor. Tayler Thompson struck first at 2:45 of the middle period to make it 1-0 before Chris LeBlanc was able to find the back of the net twice at 6:06 and 12:03 to put the Solar Bears ahead 3-0.
Trailing by three in the third, South Carolina increased their urgency and fought back, outshooting Orlando 14-7. But the Stingrays were only able to score once on goaltender Connor Ingram when Charbonneau corralled a rebound and quickly jammed it into the cage at 10:49 of the third. Assists on the play went to defender Kevin McKernan as well as forward Mason Mitchell.
In the final minutes, Orlando added to their lead when Colby McAuley scored at 17:25 and pushed the Solar Bears’ advantage up to 4-1.
Ingram earned his third straight victory for Orlando with 26 saves in the contest. The Solar Bears outshot SC 31-27 in the game and both clubs came up empty on the power play, each finishing 0-for-2.
South Carolina will aim to keep their season alive in their final home contest of the series with Game 5 on Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05 p.m.
Single-game tickets for Game 5 are on sale now at the North Charleston Coliseum Box Office and Ticketmaster.
Sign up for our ‘Pay For Play’ package now and get tickets to every remaining home game in North Charleston throughout the postseason! For more information head to StingraysHockey.com.