ESTERO, FL – An overtime penalty proved costly for the South Carolina Stingrays (16-24-5-0) as they fell to the Florida Everblades (25-15-4-4) by a final score of 4-3 on Friday at Hertz Arena.
Florida struck first on home ice as Dylan Vander Esch put the Everblades ahead late in the opening period. With just over three minutes remaining in the first stanza, Vander Esch twisted by a Stingrays defender and cleared a lane to the net where he lifted the puck over the glove of Ryan Bednard.
A misplay from Everblades’ netminder Parker Gahagen gave Jade Miller the opportunity to tie the game midway through the second period. Gahagen gloved a Carter Allen shot and laid it out on the ice without realizing Miller was crashing the net. The forward slammed the puck into the back of the net for the tie game.
In his first game back with South Carolina, Tariq Hammond gave the Stingrays their first lead of the season series on his first tally of the year. Barret Kirwin fed a pass to Hammond in the slot where the defenseman fired a wrist shot over the blocker of Gahagan for the 2-1 lead a minute after Miller’s goal.
Good puck movement from Florida gave Chris McKay a chance to fire home the tying goal on a one-timer from the left point. The Everblades swung the puck from right to left where McKay wound up and unleashed a slapshot past a stretching Bednard.
Michael Neville regained the lead for Florida four and a half minutes into the final period of regulation as Jordan Sambrook centered a pass for Neville to tip by Bednard on the backdoor.
The Stingrays would not be denied, using persistence to even the score one last time a minute and a half after Neville’s goal. Ryan Dmowski fed Andrew Cherniwchan in front of the net, who took a couple of whacks before Dmowski picked up the loose puck and lifted one past the end line for the 3-3 tie. With the assist, Cherniwchan passed Trent Campbell for fourth all-time in franchise history with 157 franchise assists.
An early tripping penalty on the Stingrays opened the ice for Florida, where they got themselves a power play goal with six seconds left in the penalty. Joe Pendenza received a pass inside the right circle and netted the game-winning goal.
The Stingrays are back in action tomorrow, February 19th as they finish a two-game set at 7:00 p.m. against the Florida Everblades at Hertz Arena in Estero, Fla.
Single game tickets for all your Stingrays home games for the upcoming 2021-22 home season are on sale now via Ticketmaster.
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