NORTH CHARLESTON S.C. – The South Carolina Stingrays (7-6-2-0) defeated the Savannah Ghost Pirates (5-10-2-1) by an 8-5 score on Friday night. Tyson Empey scored twice, Josh Wilkins tallied three points, and Mitchell Gibson scored a goal and made 23 saves in the victory.
Austin Magera opened the scoring for the Stingrays with his sixth goal of the season. Patrick Harper won a puck battle below the goal line and got it free for Jack Adams, who fed the puck across to Magera, who deposited it into an open net.
Jordan Kaplan tied the game for Savannah less than three minutes later. Kaplan one-timed a cross-ice feed from Pat Guay for his first goal.
South Carolina pulled back in front with a power play goal by Tyson Empey with 21 seconds remaining in the first period. Kameron Kielly picked up his second power play assist in his second game with the Stingrays.
Seven total goals were scored in a wild second period. Vincent Marleau tied the game 5:38 into the second period with a wrist shot on a 2-on-1 opportunity.
Harper gave the Stingrays a 3-2 lead when he wired a wrist shot past Savannah goaltender Michael Bullion for his third goal in two games. Wilkins extended the Stingrays' lead to 4-2 with a wrist shot from the same location as Harper's goal.
Gibson made it 5-2 with the first point of his professional career. Gibson was the last Stingrays player to touch the puck before a delayed penalty on Stingrays forward Jonny Evans. Savannah pulled Bullion for an extra attacker and held the puck in the South Carolina zone. Guay could not control a pass at the point, and the puck went past him and all the way down the ice into the open net.
Bryce Montgomery extended South Carolina's lead to 6-2. He fired a wrist shot from the left circle past Bullion for the first point of his professional career.
Marleau cut the Savannah deficit to 6-3 when he beat Gibson with a wrist shot from the high slot.
Empey restored the four-goal lead with a wrist shot from the right circle that beat the second-period buzzer by one second.
Marleau scored his third goal of the game, and it came on the power play 3:30 into the third period. Estes cut the deficit to 7-5 when he whacked a backhand out of mid-air into an open net. That was as close as Savannah would get. Connor Moore scored an empty net goal with 2:07 remaining to seal the 8-5 victory for South Carolina.
The Stingrays are back in action tomorrow night in Greenville for a Saturday night tilt against the Swamp Rabbits. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.