Stingrays Earn 4-2 Comeback FridayMar 4, 2016
03/04/2016 9:59 PM -
DULUTH, G.A.-Joey Leach scored two third period goals, including the game-winning tally, to help the South Carolina Stingrays earn their first comeback win of the season when trailing after the second period. The Stingrays (33-18-4-2) earned a a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Gladiators (29-20-5-2) Friday night at the Infinite Energy Arena. Trailing 2-1 after the second period, the Stingrays got three goals from defenseman in the game's final frame to earn the win.
Down by a goal, the Stingrays quickly tied the game in the third period. Bobby Shea scored his fifth goal of the season at 3:59 to tie the game, 2-2. At 3:59, forward Kelly Zajac threw the puck towards the net. It hit Austin Fyten and deflected to Shea on the left wing. The defenseman fired the puck into the open net to even the score.
The Stingrays notched the game-winning tally with just 1:59 remaining. The Stingrays failed to score on a late power play, but continued to work the puck in the offensive zone. A pass from Paul Rodrigues came back to Leach at the left-point. He fired a wrist shot that eluded Atlanta goaltender Kent Patterson to give the Stingrays a 3-2 lead. The goal was Leach's fifth of the season.
Leach would score again, notching an empty goal from his own zone with 50 seconds to play to make it 4-2 and preserve the win. Netminder Vitek Vanecek assisted on the goal, notching his first professional point.
The comeback victory improved the Stingray to 1-13-1-1 on the season when they trail after two periods of play. Vanecek stopped 20 shots in the victory as the Stingrays outshot Atlanta 32-22.
The Stingrays opened the scoring on Zajac's first goal as member of the Stingrays. Fyten missed the net on a wrist shot, but the puck rattled off the glass back to the point. Shea threw a pass to the front of the net, and Zajac scored on the backhand through Patterson's five-hole. The goal came at 9:42 of the opening frame and made it 1-0.
The Gladiators would respond with a pair of goals late in the first period to grab the lead. Brock Higgs tied the game at 13:01 on a deflection. Eric Neiley's shot from the right point was tipped by Higgs, and traveled up and over the shoulder of Vanecek.
The Gladiators would score again as Gary Nunn knocked in a rebound past goaltender Vanecek. A Derek Nesbitt backhand was denied by the right pad of Vanecek, but Nunn struck give Atlanta a 2-1 lead at 19:16 of the first period.
Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play. The Stingrays beat the Gladiators for the fourth time this season, and earned their second win in Atlanta.
Tomorrow night, the Stingrays host the 10th Annual Pink in the Rink, presented by Trident Health at 7:05 p.m. The event honors those impacted by breast cancer and will benefit Share our Suzy as the Stingrays host Adirondack. The Stingrays will wear pink accented jerseys, skate on pink ice and host a post-game jersey auction with proceeds going to Share our Suzy. There will also be free parking for fans. The pink accented jerseys feature the names of over 50 breast cancer survivors on them. Ticket information is available at StingraysHockey.com.
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