NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – In front of 10,112 fans, the largest hockey crowd at the North Charleston Coliseum since October, 1998, defenseman Marc Busenburg scored an overtime power play goal to give the South Carolina Stingrays a dramatic 5-4 victory in their home opener over the Columbia Inferno.
“It was great to win it before a huge crowd at home,” South Carolina coach Jason Fitzsimmons said. “The boys really worked hard for one another and it was sure nice to get an overtime victory.”
South Carolina (1-1-0, 2 points) opened the score on the power play. Evan Schwabe beat goaltender Todd Ford at 15:35 of the first. Cail MacLean and Jamie Fraser collected assists.
Columbia (1-0-1, 3 points) replied with the man advantage at the 18:50 mark. Anthony Battaglia one-timed a slap shot past goaltender Davis Parley to tie the score 1-1 with helpers going to Mike Jarmuth and Brad Ralph.
In the second period, the Inferno grabbed a 2-1 on the power play. Luke Fulghum unleashed a hard shot from the point to net his second of the year.
Stingrays got back on even terms on a blast from defenseman Nate Kiser, who scored his first goal in two seasons making it 2-2. Fraser picked up his second assist of the game, while Josh Anderson also registered a helper on the goal.
South Carolina went ahead on the power play at 16:48 of the middle stanza. Busenburg had his shot from the blue line re-directed by MacLean. Matt Reid also had an assist on the tally.
Just eight seconds later, Alex Foster took advantage of a turnover inside the South Carolina zone to tie it up 3-3.
Chris Chaput gave the Stingrays a 4-3 lead by netting a backhander at 11:47 on the power play.
Columbia pulled its goaltender in the dying minute and Battaglia capitalized on another Stingrays turnover to pot his second of the contest with 27 seconds remaining in regulation time.
In overtime, Columbia’s Justin Sawyer was assessed a holding penalty at the 38 second mark.
On the ensuing power play, Busenburg buried the game-winner from the right circle at 1:58 of the extra session to end the game.
“The fans were definitely a factor in the victory,” Busenburg said. “They gave us the extra jump we needed. We didn’t play flawless, but we got the job done. It was a character win all the way around.”
South Carolina went 4-for-11 on the power play, while Columbia converted on 2-of-8 opportunities with the man advantage. Inferno outshot the Stingrays 37-30.
The Stingrays go back up against the Inferno in their next home game at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday at the North Charleston Coliseum. It’s $10 Tuesday’s with $2 beers presented by Firehouse Bar and Grill.
Don’t miss all the fast-paced, hard-hitting action! Full season, weekend, and partial season ticket packages are available by calling (843) 744-2248 and speaking to a ticket sales manager.
Individual tickets can be purchased at the North Charleston Coliseum box office, by calling Ticketmaster at (843) 554-6060 and online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Discounted groups tickets, birthday packages, Kids Club information and fundraiser opportunities are available by calling (843) 744-2248 or by visiting online at www.stingrayshockey.com. Stingrays Hockey – A Whole Lot Cooler!