NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – The South Carolina Stingrays defeated the Wichita Thunder 5-4 in an overtime triumph on Sunday afternoon. Mitchell Gibson stopped 23 of 27 shots in the victory. Four different Stingrays, Ryan Leibold, Bryce Montgomery, Michael Kim, and Ivan Lodnia, earned two points each in the final game of the season against Wichita.
The first goal of the game was scored by the Thunder, marking their first lead of the weekend. Immediately following a South Carolina powerplay opportunity, Jay Dickman tallied a goal for Wichita at 13:40 into the first period. Mitchell Russell sent a backhand pass to Dickman, who launched the puck in from the slot to get the first goal of the game.
Jonny Evans tied the score for the Stingrays with just 12 seconds remaining in the first period. Evans toe-dragged his way through the high slot and got a shot off as he fell to the ice. The puck then went through the five-hole of Thunder goaltender Trevor Gorsuch to tie the game 1-1.
Wichita regained its lead early in the second period with a powerplay goal by Quinn Preston. With just five seconds remaining on the two-man advantage, Preston's backhand shot sailed over Gibson's blocker at 2:26, making it a 2-1 game.
Once again, the Stingrays had an answer, tying things up 2-2 at 9:03. Lodnia scored a spin-around backhand goal from the slot that beat Gorsuch. Kameron Kielly set up the goal with a centering feed from the right-wing corner.
Leibold secured the 3-2 lead for the Stingrays at 13:22, earning his second point of the game. The individual effort by Leibold started in the neutral zone and saw him charge into the offensive zone, switching from his backhand to his forehand at the last second to beat Gorsuch. Montgomery picked up an assist on the goal.
The Stingrays soon extended their lead to 4-2 thanks to a powerplay goal by Montgomery. Montgomery received a pass from Kim and then rocketed the puck into the back of the net on a one-timer from the left circle.
At 2:57 into the final 20 minutes of regulation play, the Thunder got one back to make it 4-3. Jason Pineo redirected Nolan Kneen's shot from the blue line past Gibson for his fifth goal of the season.
With 5:46 left to go in regulation play, Wichita evened things out with a goal by Peter Bates.
Sixty minutes of regulation play was not enough for the final matchup between these two teams. With the score tied up at four a piece, the game headed into overtime. 1:21 was all it took for the Stingrays to secure their weekend sweep of the Thunder. Connor Moore scored the game-winning goal off a one-timer out in front of Gorsuch. Evans and Kevin O'Neil assisted the overtime goal.
The Stingrays are back in action this Friday against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.