NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – The South Carolina Stingrays defeated the Wichita Thunder 5-1 on Saturday night. Garin Bjorklund stopped 22 of 23 shots in the victory. Austin Magera and Tyson Empey each recorded two goals a piece in the win.
Magera struck first for the Stingrays 3:50 into the first period. Thunder goaltender Trevor Gorsuch could not corral Colin Swoyer’s initial shot from the point. Magera picked up the rebound and scored top shelf to put the Stingrays up 1-0. Jackson Leppard also recorded an assist on the goal.
Kevin O’Neil extended the Stingrays’ lead to 2-0 7:03 into the second period of action. Jack Adams entered the offensive zone and dropped a pass back for O’Neil, who picked the top corner off a quick shot from the slot. Bryce Montgomery picked up the secondary assist on the goal.
With 4:22 remaining in the second, the Thunder scored their first goal of the night. Michal Stinil fired the puck just over the glove of Bjorklund to make it 2-1.
South Carolina answered quickly, scoring twice more before the end of the second period. Empey cashed in on a rebound opportunity off a one-timer by O’Neil 18:12 into the second period. Michael Kim recorded the secondary assist on the goal. Magera’s second goal of the night came with just 24 seconds remaining on the clock. Jonny Evans passed the puck from behind the Thunder net to a waiting Magera, who scored off a backhand shot. Magera’s 17th goal of the season made it a 4-1 game.
Empey scored his second goal of the evening 12:14 into the final 20 minutes of play. The Stingrays’ fifth goal was almost identical to their third, which Empey also scored. This time, Empey scored off a shot by Montgomery. Kim also recorded his second assist of the night on the goal.
The Stingrays and Thunder will square off again tomorrow for the final time this season at 3:05 pm at the North Charleston Coliseum.