Four straight third period goals, including three in a span of 1:18, gave the South Carolina Stingrays (33-9-3-1) a 4-0 victory over the Orlando Solar Bears (21-19-5-1) on the road Thursday night at the Amway Center.
Goaltender Logan Thompson was perfect, stopping all 34 shots that were directed toward the South Carolina net in the contest to record the third shutout of his rookie season. All three of Thompson’s shutouts have come at the expense of the Solar Bears.
Nine different forwards recorded points in the third period for the Stingrays, including Cole Ully, who assisted on two of the team’s four tallies.
The Solar Bears had outshot the Rays 9-8 in the first and 14-4 in the second, but neither team was able to get on the scoreboard during the first 40 minutes.
SC entered the third period with a power play advantage and forward Branden Troock was able to convert just 27 seconds into the final frame for his first strike as a member of the Rays. Assists on the opening goal of the game to make it 1-0 were credited to Ully and Dan DeSalvo.
Later in the period, with just 6:19 remaining on the clock, DeSalvo and Orlando’s Alexey Lipanov were each assessed two minutes for roughing and the two teams would skate 4-on-4. South Carolina took advantage of the open ice and scored twice more to extend their lead.
Defender Neal Goff, who was skating in his first game for the Rays after he was acquired in a trade with Kansas City on Monday, netted just his second goal of the season at 15:17 after an initial chance had been turned aside by Solar Bears’ goaltender Clint Windsor. Assists on the strike went to defenseman Kristofers Bindulis and team captain Andrew Cherniwchan.
Then just 11 seconds later, forward Max Novak struck for his 15th goal of the season on a breakaway from Ully and defender Tommy Hughes to make it 3-0.
The Solar Bears quickly pulled Windsor in favor of an extra skater in an attempt to get back in the game, and defenseman Jaynen Rissling made them pay once more by scoring an empty-net goal. After taking a pass from Thompson behind the net, Rissling launched a backhand shot from the corner of the SC zone up in the air and all the way down the ice into the empty cage for the final tally of the evening.
Troock’s power play goal was the only man-advantage goal of the night as the Stingrays finished 1-for-3 on the power play while Orlando was held to an 0-for-3 mark. Windsor stopped 24 shots in a losing effort, while his club had the edge in shots on goal for the game at 34-28.
The Stingrays and Solar Bears face-off once again in Orlando at the Amway Center on Friday night at 7 p.m. South Carolina will then return home to the North Charleston Coliseum for a battle with the Jacksonville Icemen on Sunday afternoon at 3:05 p.m.