Rays Advance With 5-1 Win in Game 5

Apr 23, 2016

Three goals on three straight shots in a span of 2:15 in the second period was more than enough to help the South Carolina Stingrays (4-1) secure a series victory over the Kalamazoo Wings (1-4) Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. The Stingrays took Game 5 by a score of 5-1, and won the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series, 4-1. They will play the #6 Adirondack Thunder in the Eastern Conference Semifinals starting next week. Game 1 will be Friday, April 29 and Game 2 will be Saturday, April 30. Both contests will be played at the North Charleston Coliseum with 7:05 p.m. puck drops.

After a scoreless opening period where South Carolina killed off four minor penalties, three quick second period goals from the Stingrays sent the crowd of 3,385 into a frenzy. Defenseman Nick Jones opened the scoring at the 10:13 mark of the second period, scoring on his own rebound to make it 1-0. Forward Trevor Gillies kept the puck in along the blue line and fed a pass to Stephan Vigier. He centered to Jones who walked around Kalamazoo goalie Joel Martin. His first shot was denied, but the rebound popped off Jones' chest and into the net. 

Just 41 seconds later the Stingrays scored again. Joe Devin added his fifth goal of the postseason on a redirect. With South Carolina on the power play, Devin tipped a Derek DeBlois shot under Martin's arm to make it 2-0 at 10:54. 

At 12:28, Vigier made it 3-0, sliding a shot through Martin's five-hole from the right wing. Brett Cameron and Colton Saucerman assisted. Saucerman finished the night with a pair of assists.

Brett Ponich would score for Kalamazoo to give the his team life at 15:54 of the second period. His point shot beat South Carolina goalie Vitek Vanecek over the blocker to make it 3-1 prior to the end of the second period. 

However, the Stingrays held Kalamazoo off the board and added a pair of goals in the final period to seal the win. Austin Fyten scored his second goal of the playofffs at 15:07, and Joey Leach scored an empty-net goal with 1:30 to play. 

Vanecek and the penalty kill held Kalamazoo to 0-for-6 on the power play. The netminder earned his second straight win, stopping 23 shots. The Stingrays outshot Kalamazoo 28-24 on the evening.

The #2 Stingrays will open the Conference Semifinals next week versus the #6 Adirondack Thunder. The Thunder, coached by former Stingray player and coach Cail MacLean, won their Conference Quarterfinals series, 4-1, over #3 Manchester. A complete playoff schedule, ticket information, and further playoff news will be posted to StingraysHockey.com in the coming days.

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