The South Carolina Stingrays (22-2-3-1) dominated from the start and skated their way to a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Gladiators (12-16-0-0) on Friday night at the Infinite Energy Center to extend their league-best point streak to 15 consecutive games.
Forwards Tim Harrison, Matthew Weis and Max Novak scored goals for the Rays while goaltender Logan Thompson stopped 26 shots to earn the victory and improve his record to 10-2-1 on the season.
South Carolina is 11-0-3-1 since Nov. 22 and have a strong hold on first place in both the South Division standings and Eastern Conference with 48 points in their first 28 games played.
At 4:58 of the first, after the Rays won a battle on the boards in the offensive zone, forward Jonathan Charbonneau got the puck to Matt Nuttle on the right point. He then sent it into the slot for a redirect by Harrison that beat goaltender Callum Booth to put South Carolina ahead 1-0.
The Rays extended their advantage later in the frame when Weis scored his second goal in as many games after using a spin move to create space in the offensive zone. He attempted to backhand a pass over to his linemate Mitch Vanderlaan, but the biscuit went off an Atlanta defender and into the net to make it 2-0 SC. Forward Andrew Cherniwchan and defender Jordan Klimek were credited with assists on the play.
After a scoreless second period, Max Novak made it 3-0 at 7:40 of the third when he used a wrist shot as he came into the offensive zone to net his sixth tally of the 2019-20 season. Assists on the Rays’ third goal of the evening went to both Klimek and Dylan Steman
Although Eric Neiley got Atlanta on the board at 9:37 of the third to make it 3-1, the Gladiators were unable to get any closer in the contest.
While Booth started the game for Atlanta and played the first 40 minutes, he was replaced by Chris Nell at the beginning of the third period. Booth stopped 25 shots in the contest, while Nell, who defeated South Carolina on Thursday, made four saves in the final stanza.
The Stingrays outshot Atlanta 17-3 in the first 20 minutes to take control of the game, but the Gladiators had more chances later in the contest. The final shots-on-goal tally was 32-27 in favor of South Carolina. Neither team was able to convert on the power play in the game, with the Rays holding Atlanta 0-for-5 on the man-advantage, while finishing 0-for-3 themselves.
The Stingrays are back at home in North Charleston Saturday night for a matchup with the Orlando Solar Bears at 6:05 p.m.