After falling behind in the second period, the South Carolina Stingrays made a late comeback attempt in the third but fell one goal short to the Orlando Solar Bears, losing by a score of 3-2 in Game 2 of the South Division Semifinals on Friday night at the Amway Center. The two teams are now tied 1-1 in the first-round best-of-seven series.
Forwards Grant Besse and Tad Kozun scored goals for the Stingrays in the third period, while goaltender Parker Milner made 33 saves in a losing effort.
The two teams skated to a scoreless first period after 20 minutes, with Orlando outshooting South Carolina 15-12.
But the Solar Bears did all of the damage in the middle frame, scoring three times to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Tayler Thompson found the back of the net at 2:42 of the second, scoring the first goal of the postseason for Orlando and breaking up a shutout streak for Milner that spanned 82:42 to start the playoffs for SC.
Mitch Hults added two more tallies for the Solar Bears later in the period, first scoring at 6:17 before striking for his second of the game on the power play at 16:26.
Down three in the third, South Carolina began chipping away at the Orlando lead toward the middle of the final period. Besse was able to slip a puck by goaltender Connor Ingram at 7:33 to get the Rays on the board and make it 3-1. The lone assist went to Stephane Legault on the play.
Then Kozun cut the deficit to one goal at the end of a long 5-on-3 power play advantage for South Carolina, slamming a rebound at the side of the net past Ingram to make it 3-2. Assists on the goal were credited to Ryker Killins and Cameron Askew.
SC continued to garner chances late in the game and pulled Milner for an extra attacker in the final minutes, but were unable to find an equalizer and suffered their first loss of the postseason.
Ingram picked up the win with 25 saves in the contest for the Solar Bears. Both teams were able to score on the man-advantage in the game and finished 1-for-6 on the power play.
South Carolina returns home for Game 3 on Wednesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05 p.m.
Single-game tickets for Games 3 and 4 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 home game in North Charleston throughout the postseason! For more information head to StingraysHockey.com.