Gaul's Goal Gives Rays 2-1 Win Friday NightApr 1, 2016
Patrick Gaul scored the game-winning goal with 8:18 to play to lead the South Carolina Stingrays (41-18-6-3) to a 2-1 victory over the Orlando Solar Bears (31-27-4-5) Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. The Stingrays got 30 saves from netminder Mark Dekanich, and thanks to Atlanta's 6-4 victory over Florida, the Stingrays are now three points ahead of the Everblades for the South Division lead.
South Carolina's Derek DeBlois opened the scoring Friday night, striking on the power play at 9:21 of the opening period to give the Stingrays a 1-0 lead. Forward Kelly Zajac stood along the boards and fed a pass to South Carolina defenseman Spencer Humphries along the blue line. He made a behind-the-back pass to DeBlois, who one-timed a shot that beat Madore blocker side for the game's first goal.
Dekanich would earn his 18th victory in goal Friday night, turning aside several key Orlando chances including denying a breakaway in the second period, and making an impressive save with his glove on Jack Rodewald's chance from the slot. He stopped 11 shots in both the second and third periods.
In the third period, Rylan Schwartz would score to tie the game at 6:44. Orlando forward Eric Faille helped make the play possible by a diving effort to barley tag up at the blue line. Faille had lost his skate blade deep in the offensive zone, and limped back to neutral ice as Schwartz rushed down the right wing. Schwartz's wrist shot beat Dekanich far-side to make it 1-1.
Gaul's game-winning goal would come on a fantastic effort at the 11:42 mark of the third period. A loose puck was poked ahead by the forward. He split a pair of defenders to win the race to the puck. Gaul flipped a backhand off the far post and past Madore to give the Stingrays a 2-1 lead. The goal was Gaul's seventh goal of the season. Bobby Shea and Joey Leach assisted on the goal that sent the crowd of 4,233 to its feet.
Orlando outshot the Stingrays 31-25. The Solar Bears were 0-for-5 on the power play while South Carolina was 1-for-2.
The two teams meet again tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. Fans can win one of five Stingrays authentic throwback jerseys to be given away at the game on Fan Appreciation Night presented by The Post and Courier featuring FREE parking. Also, raffle tickets will be available to win a jersey off the back of a Stingrays player. The first 1,000 fans will also receive a team photo courtesy of Data Imaging. For more information, call the Stingrays at 843-744-2248.
--Stingrays Hockey – Wanna Go?--