SAVANNAH, GA – The South Carolina Stingrays defeated the Savannah Ghost Pirates 5-2 on Thursday night. Mitchell Gibson stopped 35 of 37 shots in the victory. Three different Stingrays, Ivan Lodnia, Austin Magera, and Benton Maass, had two-point games.
The Stingrays struck first and dominated scoring in the first period. At 7:57, Lodnia took a backhand shot from the right circle that Ryan Leibold tipped into the net to make it 1-0. The goal was Leibold's seventh of the year. Maass picked up the secondary assist on the night's first goal.
South Carolina added another tally later in the first period. The goal came at 14:06 into the opening frame when Nick Leivermann received a cross-ice pass from Lodnia and drove the puck home off a shot from the left circle to make it a 2-0 game. Michael Kim had the secondary assist on the powerplay goal.
While the Stingrays dominated scoring in the first period, the Ghost Pirates secured the lone goal in the second. At 6:59, Savannah's leading goal scorer, Simon Pinard, stick-handled around Gibson and backhanded the puck into the Stingray's net to make it a one-goal game heading into the third.
Jonny Evans regained South Carolina's two-goal lead at 10:30 into the third period. Evans redirected Maass' one-timer from the point to make it 3-1. The goal extended Evans' point streak to six games. Magera had the secondary assist on the Stingrays' third goal.
South Carolina tallied a second power play goal at 15:45, thanks to Kevin O'Neil. Magera found an open O'Neil in the slot, who sent a powerful wrist shot past Savannah goaltender Jesper Vikman's blocker. Evans tallied his second point of the night with a secondary assist on the goal.
The Ghost Pirates scored their final goal of the evening with under three minutes remaining. Logan Drevitch wrapped around from behind Gibson's net to get Savannah's second goal and make it 4-2.
With 2:10 remaining, Savannah elected to pull their goaltender in an attempt to erase the two-goal deficit. However, the Stingrays capitalized on the opportunity, and Jackson Leppard scored the game's final goal on an empty net.
The Stingrays will play the Ghost Pirates in Savannah again this Friday, February 9, with puck drop at 7:30 p.m.