After claiming two points last weekend from a series in Jacksonville, the South Carolina Stingrays are preparing for three more games in the Sunshine State this week against the Florida Everblades. The pair of overtime losses kept SC in front of the Icemen in the Eastern Conference standings and allowed them to move into a tie for fourth place with the Orlando Solar Bears, each holding a points percentage at .522.
The Stingrays won their first meeting with the Blades inside Hertz Arena on Jan. 29 but have come up short to their southern rivals in each of the past four matchups ever since. Florida is in second place in the standings with a record of 19-5-0-1 and a points percentage at .780. South Carolina will be looking to get out to a fast start in the three road games this week, as the team holds an 8-1-3 record this season when scoring the first goal.
STINGRAYS RECORD:9-8-6-0LAST WEEK: 0-0-2-0
FRIDAY: JACKSONVILLE ICEMEN 3, SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 2 OT(VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena – Jacksonville, FL)The South Carolina Stingrays never trailed during regulation, but a power play goal in overtime from Nick Saracino gave the Jacksonville Icemen the upper hand at the end of Friday night’s series opener at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena by a score of 3-2. Forward Cole Ully made his return to the lineup and scored both goals for South Carolina, while netminder Sean Bonar stopped 23 shots in a losing effort.
SATURDAY: JACKSONVILLE ICEMEN 4, SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 3 OT(VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena – Jacksonville, FL)A three-goal third period comeback by the South Carolina Stingrays forced overtime, but a tally 1:10 into the extra session by Brendan Warren pushed the Jacksonville Icemen on top for good by a final score of 4-3 on Saturday night at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. Stingrays defender Zach Malatesta led the comeback with two straight tallies in the third, while forward Dan DeSalvo picked up a pair of assists as SC fell in extra time for the second straight night.THIS WEEKWednesday, February 24 – at Florida Everblades, 7:30 p.m. (Hertz Arena)Friday, February 26 – at Florida Everblades, 7:30 p.m. (Hertz Arena)Saturday, February 27 – at Florida Everblades, 7 p.m. (Hertz Arena)STINGRAYS LEADERSGoals: 7 – Cole UllyAssists: 13 – Max NovakPoints: 15 – Dan DeSalvo, Max NovakPlus/Minus: Plus-8 – Max NovakPenalty Minutes: 62 – Cole FraserShots On Goal: 58 – Dan DeSalvoWins: 4 – Alex Dubeau*Goals Against Average: 3.18 – Jake KupskySave Percentage: 0.899 – Jake Kupsky* - In The AHL
MALATESTA TAKES OVERWith South Carolina trailing in the third period Saturday night, defender Zach Malatesta willed the team back into the contest by scoring twice in the final 11 minutes of the game. The blueliner has been on a roll as of late, currently on a 5-game point streak. In 12 games this season, Malatesta has posted 11 points (3g, 8a). Prior to Saturday’s two-goal performance, he had posted power play assists in four consecutive contests.
DESALVO STAYS HOTForward Dan DeSalvo had assists in both games over the weekend in Jacksonville, running his current point streak to five games during which he has scored seven points (2g, 5a) On Friday, DeSalvo assisted on Cole Ully’s third period power play goal. He then picked up two helpers Saturday, factoring in on both of Zach Malatesta’s third period tallies. The Bowling Green State University graduate has totaled 10 points in his last eight outings and his 15 total points (6g, 9a) are tied for the most on the team so far this season.
ULLY RETURNS WITH A BANGAfter missing eight games with an injury, forward Cole Ully scored both of South Carolina’s goals Friday night in his return to the lineup. The Calgary, Alberta native followed that up with a primary assist on Zach Malatesta’s second goal of the third period Saturday. Ully has now posted multi-point games in four of his last seven contests and leads the team with seven tallies this season. Overall, the attacker has 14 points (7g, 7a) in 13 contests this year along with a +5 rating.
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