NORFOLK, VA – Jonny Evans netted the game-winning goal for the second straight contest, lifting the South Carolina Stingrays (28-37-6-0) over the Norfolk Admirals (26-37-3-3) by a final score of 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Stingrays got off to a quick start only 55 seconds into the opening stanza on Kevin Fitzgerald’s third goal of the year. Fitzgerald pickpocketed an Admirals defender in the Norfolk zone, where he spun and fired a shot past Jack Lafontaine for the 1-0 lead.
The Admirals responded with two goals to close out the period beginning with Nick Schaus’s tally nearly eight minutes later. Ryan Valentini’s initial shot rang off the post and ricocheted directly to Schaus, who guided the puck to the back of the net to tie the game at one goal apiece.
Alex Tonge gave Norfolk the lead before the conclusion of the first period, netting his team-leading 28th goal of the year with just over five minutes left. The Admirals forced an offensive turnover and used a tic-tac-toe pass that gave Tonge an open net for the 2-1 advantage.
Early in the second period, Noah Corson padded the lead on his 22nd tuck of the season. Joe Widmar raced with Corson for an odd-man rush and fed Corson for the tap-in goal for a 3-1 lead.
South Carolina didn’t go down without a fight, as they picked up a power play goal from Lawton Courtnall before the end of the middle frame. Courtnall received a circle-to-circle pass from Andrew Cherniwchan and snapped a wrist shot on net that Lafontaine slowed down but could not stop the puck from crossing the end line.
Evans evened things up nearly under a minute and a half into the final period of regulation, netting his sixth goal of the season. Tariq Hammond sent a shot on net from the left circle, where Evans scooped up the rebound and led the puck into the open net for the tie game.
The Stingrays took their first lead since the 8:49 mark of the first period on Cherniwchan’s rebound tuck, his 21st goal of the year. Cam Strong chipped a shot on net that Lafontaine saved, but the Stingrays captain was there to send the puck back into the net for the 4-3 lead midway through the third frame.
Norfolk pulled their netminder with just over a minute and a half left in regulation, and it paid off as Corson tied the game with 19 seconds left on the clock. Corson set up in front of the net and redirected a pass from Marley Quince past Hunter Shepard for his second tally of the night and evened the score at four goals a side to force overtime.
Early in overtime, Evans played hero and netted his fourth goal in the past two games to give the Stingrays the 5-4 win. Shepard turned a Norfolk shot onto the stick of Carter Turnbull, who fired an outlet pass to Evans for the breakaway tally past the glove of Lafontaine.
The Stingrays complete their 2021-22 campaign this Friday, April 15th, when the team concludes their season against the Norfolk Admirals at the Norfolk Scope Arena at 7:30pm.
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