Rays Move Into First in South With 4-1 Win FridayMar 11, 2016
Stephan Vigier had a goal and an assist and Mark Dekanich stopped 26 shots to lead the South Carolina Stingrays (35-18-5-2) to a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Gladiators (29-24-5-2) Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. The victory, combined with Greenville's win over the Florida Everblades, moved the Stingrays into sole possession of first place in the ECHL's South Division.
The two teams traded a pair of goals in a span of 29 seconds in the first period as Kelly Zajac scored his third goal of the season for the Stingrays at 11:14, and Patrick D'Amico quickly tied the game for Atlanta at 11:43. The Stingrays would break the tie at 16:36 on Vigier's 20th goal of the season. With the Stingrays on the power play, Vigier accepted a Zajac pass along the goal line. Rather than passing himself, Vigier fired a shot from an extreme angle that rolled through goaltender Matt Ginn's pads to make it 2-1 Stingrays.
Dekanich was busy in the opening period, stopping 14 Atlanta shots. The goaltender was named the game's first star, making several specatular saves that kept the Stingrays in front during the physical contest.
The Stingrays would reward Dekanich with a strong start in the second period, striking for the lone goal of the frame. Patrick Gaul scored his third goal of the season to extend the Stingrays lead to 3-1. The forward collected a rebound off his initial shot, wrapped the puck behind the net, and beat Ginn over the catching glove. Marcus Perrier and Jared Staal assisted.
Staal would add to South Carolina's lead, scoring his 10th goal of the season at 12:27 of the third period, beating Ginn with a low wrist shot from the slot to make it 4-1.
Atlanta outshot South Carolina 27-24. The Stingrays were 1-for-5 on the power play while Atlanta was 0-for-3
The evening was the Stingrays annual Dog Days of Winter, featuring free admission for dogs, and well as Wiener Dog Races during intermissions.
The two teams rematch tomorrow night at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05. The contest is the Stingrays Youth Jersey Giveaway to the first 1,000 fans 12 and under. Doors open for Season Ticket Holders at 5:30 p.m. and the general public at 6:00 p.m. Fans are encouraged to call 843-744-2248 or visit StingraysHockey.com for ticket info.
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