Rays Fall to Everblades in Shootout 4-3 FridayMar 18, 2016
In his 200th ECHL game, forward Patrick Gaul scored in the third period to force overtime, but the Florida Everblades earned a 4-3 shootout victory over the South Carolina Stingrays Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. Kelly Zajac and Stephan Viger also scored for the Stingrays who rematch with Florida tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. in a battle for sole possession of first place in the South Division.
Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, Gaul tied the game early into the frame with his third goal in as many contests. Defenseman Ryan Ruikka found Gaul streaking through the middle of the ice and sent him in on a breakaway with a pass. The forward walked in and beat Florida goaltender Anthony Peters through the five-hole at 1:34 of the third period.
The game progressed to overtime where South Carolina's Brett Cameron was docked for a penalty. The Stingrays penalty kill and netminder Mark Dekanich came up big, denying all seven Florida shots in the extra session.
In the shootout, Florida converted on three of four shootout attempts with Brendan O'Donnell scoring in the fourth round to put the pressure on Kelly Zajac who shot for the Stingrays. The South Carolina forward lost control of the puck and was denied by Peters to earn for Florida.
The Stingrays opened the scoring only 3:50 into Friday's game on an unassisted goal from Zajac. With the puck deep in the offensive zone, Zajac emerged from a crowd and cut to the net. He tried to slide a pass across to Austin Fyten, but the puck redirected off a Florida defenseman and slid through Peters five-hole to make it 1-0.
The Everblades would tie the game at the 5:34 mark as Gabriel Desjardins scored his 10th goal of the season from the slot to make it 1-1. Less than a minute later, Stephan Vigier scored his team-leading 22nd goal of the season. David Pacan tossed the puck ahead on the right wing. Vigier won the race, and cut in on goal, beating Peters through the five-hole to make it 2-1 Stingrays.
The second period would see the Everblades take a 3-2 lead with a pair of goals. Maxime St. Cyr tied the game at 9:17, scoring on a rebound off Dekanch's left pad. Rookie Matt Willows shot was denied by Dekanich, but the rebound popped to St. Cyr in the slot for his ninth goal of the season.
The Everblades would take their first lead of the evening at 15:41 of the second period on a goal from Kevin Montgomery. Florida moved the puck back to the left point. Montgomery let a shot go that beat a partially screened Dekanich to make it 3-2 Everblades heading into the third period.
After tonight's shootout win for Florida, the Everblades and South Carolina are now tied at 80 points for the top spot in the South Division. The Everblades outshot the Stingrays 39-29 in the victory.
Tomorrow's game is Social Media Night at 7:05 p.m. as the two teams rematch. The Stingrays are also home Sunday at 3:05 p.m. versus Greenville for Undie Sunday! Fans are encouraged to bring a packaged pair of new undergarments to throw on the ice after the Stingrays first goal for those in need. Fans are encouraged to call 843-744-2248 or visit StingraysHockey.com.
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