NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – The South Carolina Stingrays (32-17-4-1) fell to the Orlando Solar Bears (28-23-6-1) in the season series finale by a final score of 7-2 on Sunday afternoon at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Orlando took an early lead as Max Balinson netted his seventh goal of the year for the 1-0 advantage. Balinson wristed a shot from inside the blue line that deflected past Clay Stevenson 46 seconds into the opening stanza.
Bennett MacArthur doubled the lead 12 seconds later as he batted a fluttering puck over Stevenson’s glove for the 2-0 advantage.
The Stingrays responded 27 seconds after with Alex Fortin’s 14th tuck of the year. Fortin snapped a shot from the right circle that beat Jack LaFontaine over the blocker to cut the deficit in half.
Tristan Langan regained the Solar Bears’ two-goal advantage at the 6:32 mark of the opening period. Langan led a two-on-one rush to the right circle where he lifted a shot over the glove of Stevenson for his 15th marker of the year.
Grant Mismash expanded the Orlando lead with his fourth goal of the season at the 2:31 mark of the second period. Another odd-man rush gave Mismash an open shot from the right circle that beat Stevenson for the 4-1 lead. Following the goal, Tyler Wall relieved Stevenson for the remainder of the afternoon.
Ross Olsson added a power play goal seven minutes later for his 25th goal of the year. Olsson deflected a shot from Balinson that bounced past Wall for the 5-1 advantage.
South Carolina gained a goal back on Josh Wilkins’ 12th power play goal of the season with 7:40 remaining in the middle stanza. Wilkins received a pass from Bear Hughes and waited for LaFontaine to make a move before flipping it over the netminder for his 18th goal of the year.
Langan took back the four-goal advantage 23 seconds later with his second goal of the contest. Langan led a three-on-two rush and banked a shot off a Stingrays’ defender and past Wall for the 6-2 lead to finish the second period.
Luke McInnis netted the lone goal of the third period with 7:51 remaining in regulation as he placed a shot over the shoulder of a screened Wall for the 7-2 final.
The Stingrays return to action this Wednesday, March 8th as they head to Estero, FL for the first of three games against the Florida Everblades beginning at 7:30 p.m.
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