North Charleston, SC – The Kelly Cup Champion South Carolina Stingrays scored three second-period goals, but fell 5-3 to the Charlotte Checkers at Carolina Ice Palace Friday night in the first of two preseason games between the clubs.
The Checkers started the scoring early as Chris Capraro beat Stingrays goaltender Todd Ford low glove-side on a two-on-one rush just 22 seconds into the game. Matt Schepke and Ryan Hillier picked up the assists. The one-goal lead would last the rest of the period.
The Stingrays would answer just 1:09 into the second period when Keith Johnson followed the rebound off the pads of Charlotte goalkeeper Ryan Munce. Michael Dubuc and Nikita Kashirsky earned helpers on the goal. The tie would not last long as Charlotte claimed their second lead while on the power play off the stick of Tyler Doig from Ryan Garlock and Trevor Glass at the 4:41 mark of the middle frame. With the momentum, the Checkers attack created a two-goal lead nearly two minutes later as Chris Chappell buried a short-handed marker past Ford with assistance from Hillier at 6:49. Ford was pulled in favor of goaltender Steve Bounds shortly after the goal.
The Rays quickly turned the play around a minute later as David Grimson blasted a shot from the top of the left-wing point beating Munce high blocker side. Rookie Jake Hauswirth knocked the puck back to Grimson for the shot at 7:49. Hauswirth tallied another helper in the second period as Lyon Messier tied the game at 12:07. Grant Farrell received the second assist. Messier’s marker would eventually be the final goal of the game for the Rays. Both teams skated to the locker room tied up at three at the end of two periods of play.
The Checkers came out strong in the third period in front of new goaltender Billy Sauer burying two goals in a two minute span to seal the victory. Matt Schepke acquired his second point of the night at 4:33 when he beat a sliding Bounds low blocker-side. Assisting on the play was Capraro and Garlock. Both would finish the night with two points. Jean-Phillip Chabot put the game away at 6:33 with help from Doig beating Bounds top shelf.
Sauer picked up the win for the Checkers stopping all eleven shots he faced. Starter Ryan Munce faced 21 shots saving 18. Stingrays’ goalie Steve Bounds suffered the loss stopping seven of nine shots in 28 minutes and 18 seconds of play. Stingrays starting goaltender Todd Ford halted 15 pucks on 18 shots.
Both of these teams will do battle once more in the preseason finale tomorrow afternoon in Charlotte. Faceoff is scheduled for 1:30 at the Extreme Ice Center.
Mark your Calendars – The Stingrays Opening Weekend is set for Friday, October 16 and Saturday, October 17. Friday night, the Stingrays drop the puck on their 17th season of hockey in the Low Country against the Wheeling Nailers at 7:05 p.m. It’s FREE PARKING night and Magnetic Schedules Giveaway, courtesy of Comcast, as the Stingrays raise the 2009 Kelly Cup Championship banner to the rafters of the North Charleston Coliseum. Then, come join us early on Saturday for a tailgate in the parking lot before the Rays face division-rival Charlotte Checkers at 7:05 p.m. Doors open for both games at 6 p.m.
Don’t miss any of the fast-paced, action-packed, championship-winning action of the South Carolina Stingrays. Ticket packages for the 2009-10 season are on sale now! Call the Stingrays front office at (843) 744-2248 for more information. For all the latest Stingrays news visit www.stingrayshockey.com