Dan DeSalvo scored three times to help the South Carolina Stingrays (20-2-3-0) prevail in a back-and-forth contest by a score of 6-4 over the Orlando Solar Bears (11-12-4-1) and extend their point streak to 12 games on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
DeSalvo’s linemates Max Novak and Mark Cooper also had big nights, with Novak earning four assists, while Cooper had three helpers. Forward Matthew Weis also had a goal and an assist in the game and goaltender Parker Milner turned aside 25 shots and stayed unbeaten in regulation on the year (11-0-2).
The Solar Bears took the initial lead 4:38 into the first when Tristin Langan scored on a redirect in front of the net to make it 1-0.
Minutes later, DeSalvo had a dominant shift and took over the game, scoring twice in just 32 seconds to give the Rays a 2-1 advantage. His first strike of the night came at 8:20, while his second was a wrister from the right circle that snuck past Orlando netminder Zachary Fucale at 8:52. Both markers came with assists by Cooper and Novak.
But before the end of the first, the Solar Bears struck back for two straight goals of their own in under a minute to retake the lead at 3-2. Chris LeBlanc had Orlando’s second goal at 13:08, while Mikhail Shalagin hit the back of the net at 14:05.
South Carolina tied things back up at 3-3 at 6:34 of the second when DeSalvo completed the hat trick by slapping a loose puck in front of the net past Fucale for his 11th tally of the year. His third goal was once again assisted by Novak and Cooper.
Weis gave the Rays their second lead of the game at 4-3 just after a power play had expired when he scored his fifth goal of the year with a slap shot from the left circle at 15:50 that had an assist from forward Cole Ully.
Early on in the third, a shorthanded breakaway goal by Orlando’s Chris LeBlanc at 1:59 of the final frame tied the game at 4-4.
The Stingrays went back in front less than two minutes later at 3:33 of the third when defender Jordan Klimek scored his fourth goal of the year with a wrist shot to the top left corner of the net just after a penalty on the Solar Bears expired.
South Carolina captain Andrew Cherniwchan provided an insurance goal while the Rays were shorthanded later in the frame at 11:20, netting his team-leading 12th tally of the season from Max Novak to make it 6-4.
Fucale stopped 28 shots for Orlando in a losing effort as SC had the edge in shots on goal in the contest, 34-29. The two teams both came up empty on the power play with the Solar Bears finishing 0-for-4 and the Rays ending at 0-for-7.
South Carolina will travel to Jacksonville to face the Icemen on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Rays return home to North Charleston on Dec. 28 for another matchup with Orlando at 6:05 p.m.