The Florida Everblades (13-7-1-2) scored twice in the final three minutes of regulation to force overtime before finding the winner late in the extra session to sneak past the South Carolina Stingrays (16-2-2-0) by a score of 3-2 on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
Stingrays goals came from captain Andrew Cherniwchan and forward Dan DeSalvo in the third period, while goaltender Logan Thompson held off the Florida attack for most of the game by turning away 41 shots.
For the second straight night, South Carolina played excellent defense and kept Florida off the scoreboard for the first 57 minutes of the game. But Blake Winiecki broke through for the Everblades at 17:08 and and Logan Roe evened the score at 2-2 with the net empty at the other end just 1:25 later at 18:33.
The game was scoreless through the first 40 minutes until Cherniwchan scored 46 seconds into the third period on a rebound in front after an initial shot by Tom Parisi. Forward Cole Ully had the second assist on the first goal of the night that made it 1-0 SC.
Later on, a pass from Max Novak set DeSalvo free behind the Everblades’ defense. The Rolling Meadows, Ill. native was able to use a forehand wrist shot to put the puck past goaltender Ken Appleby to extend the Rays’ lead to 2-0 at 16:08. A second assist on the play was credited to defenseman Tariq Hammond.
But Florida struck back one minute later to begin their comeback. After a back-and-forth overtime, Justin Auger beat Thompson for the game-winner at 5:42 of OT to secure the extra point for the ‘Blades.
Despite the loss, the Stingrays earned a point in all seven games during their road trip (5-0-2) that began on Nov. 22 in Estero, which included four games against Florida (3-0-1). South Carolina has also secured points in 12 straight road games overall and is 12-1-2 away from North Charleston this season.
The Everblades outshot SC 44-31 in the game. Appleby picked up the victory for Florida, stopping a total of 29 shots. Both teams came up empty on the power play with Florida finishing 0-for-5 and South Carolina ending at 0-for-3.
NEXT GAMESouth Carolina returns home to face the Orlando Solar Bears at the North Charleston Coliseum on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.