GREENVILLE, SC – Carter Turnbull’s first career goal in overtime lifted the South Carolina Stingrays (23-36-6-0) over the rival Greenville Swamp Rabbits (28-26-5-3) by a final score of 5-4 at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Wednesday evening.
For the fourth straight game, Justin Florek found the back of the net, resulting in his 20th goal of the season. After winning an offensive faceoff, blueliner Dan Willett, in his pro hockey debut, fired a shot on net that Florek collected and slid past John Lethemon for the 1-0 lead just over halfway into the first period.
Derek Gentile doubled the lead two and a half minutes later when he fired home his 11th goal of the season on a power play. Florek sent a shot wide of the net where Gentile picked the loose puck, spun back around to the right circle, and snapped a shot over Lethemon for the 2-0 lead to end the first period.
Six and a half minutes into the second frame, the Stingrays struck again to expand their lead to 3-0. Nick Isaacson and Greg DiTomaso raced for the odd-man rush, where Isaacson ripped a wrist shot past the glove of Lethemon for his 5th tally of the year.
South Carolina added one more for good measure seven minutes later as Croix Evingson found the back of the net for the first time since joining the Stingrays on March 11th. Carter Allen fed Evingson at the blue line, where the defenseman sent a one-timer on net for the 4-0 lead.
Greenville fought their way back with four unanswered goals beginning with Anthony Rinaldi’s power play tally a minute and a half after Evingson’s goal. Rinaldi crashed the net and tapped in the rebound off Ethan Somoza’s initial shot for his seventh tuck of the year.
Kevin McKernan brought the Swamp Rabbits within two goals before the end of the middle frame on his second goal of the year. McKernan raced with Rinaldi, received a pass between the legs of a Stingrays defender, and redirected a shot into the back of the net.
Greenville began the third period with some pep in their step as Justin Nachbaur cut the deficit in half on his fifth goal of the season, 19 seconds into the final frame of regulation. Nachbaur moved to the left circle from behind the net, where he spun and fired a shot past Hunter Shepard.
Bradley Lalonde finished the comeback for the Swamp Rabbits a minute and a half later, tying the game at four goals apiece early in the third period. Lalonde entered the zone late and got a perfect pass on the right circle, where the blueliner guided a shot short side for his second tally of the year. The teams would remain scoreless the remainder of regulation to force overtime.
With 38 seconds left in overtime, South Carolina turned the tides back in their favor on Turnbull’s first career goal. Kevin O’Neil sent a pass to Turnbull on the left circle where the UConn connection favored the Stingrays for the overtime victory.
The Stingrays return home for the first of a home-and-home series against the Orlando Solar Bears this Friday, April 1st, with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum.
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