Stingrays Top Glads 3-1 to Win Third StraightMar 12, 2016
The South Carolina Stingrays (36-18-5-2) capped a perfect 3-0-0-0 week with a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Gladiators (29-24-5-2) in front of a crowd of 4,392 at the North Charleston Coliseum on Saturday evening. The Stingrays earned a second straight victory over the Gladiators thanks to two goals in the first period and 26 saves from netminder Vitek Vanecek.
The Stingrays scored twice in a span of 1:03 to take a 2-0 lead in the opening frame. Nick Jones opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the season on the power play at 14:33. Forward Kelly Zajac moved the puck back to his teammate Jones in the high slot. Jones fired a slap shot that beat Atlanta goaltender Kent Patterson past the blocker to make it 1-0.
The Stingrays would score again at 15:36 on Stephan Vigier's 21st goal of the season. Forward David Pacan showcased great patience, waiting an extra second for Vigier to get open on the left wing before sending a pass across the ice to his teammate. Vigier made no mistake after receiving the pass, knocking the water bottle off the net as he beat Patterson over the blocker to make it 2-0.
After having a goal waived off in the second period due to the official losing sight of the puck, Tyler Murovich got a second chance for Atlanta and converted for his 17th goal of the season only 1:17 into the third period to cut into the Stingrays lead. A tic-tac-toe passing play saw Brock Higgs send a pass to Murovich on the backdoor. The forward tapped a shot past Vanecek to make it 2-1.
The teams would trade power plays in third period, but the Gladiators were unable to find the equalizer. Stingrays forward Patrick Gaul, who helped his team finish 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, was rewarded with an empty net goal to complete the victory for the Stingrays.
Vanecek stopped 26 shots to win his seventh straight game. The Stingrays outshot the Gladiators 35-27 on the evening.
South Carolina remains one point ahead of the Florida Everblades for the top spot in the South Division. The Stingrays continue a five-game homestand with a pair of games versus the Everblades next weekend. The battle for first place takes place at 7:05 both Friday and Saturday. Friday is Comic-Con Night, and Saturday is Social Media Night. 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 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 for ticket info.
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