Andrew Cherniwchan scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime to give the South Carolina Stingrays (36-10-3-1) a 4-3 victory over the Adirondack Thunder (18-22-7-5) on Valentine’s Day Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Forward Branden Troock had a multi-point night for the second straight game, picking up two assists, while defenders Kristofers Bindulis and Jaynen Rissling also scored goals for the Rays in the win. Goaltender Logan Thompson turned aside 33 shots to record his 19th victory of the year.
Cherniwchan now leads the first-place Stingrays with 23 goals on the season, which is also good for 5th-most in the ECHL.
Bindulis got the scoring started at 16:01 of the opening period with his fifth goal of the season from Troock and Matthew Weis to make it 1-0. It was the second straight contest with a goal for the blueliner from Riga, Latvia, who now has points in eight of his last nine games.
The Thunder came out strong in the second and scored twice in the first three minutes to take a 2-1 lead. Conor Riley evened the game at 1:37 of the middle frame, while Ara Nazarian gave Adirondack the advantage with a strike at 2:39.
But Cherniwchan tied things back up at 2-2 by scoring his first of the game at 6:53 with a quick wrist shot from the left wall that beat Adirondack goaltender Evan Cormier.
At the start of the third, with the game still even, SC successfully killed off a two man advantage for the Thunder after consecutive penalties were whistled to forward Cole Ully for high sticking and defenseman Eddie Wittchow for delay of game.
Rissling then gave the Rays a 3-2 lead by following up an initial shot by Troock and getting his stick on the rebound to score his third goal of the season at 12:40 of the third. The second assist on the strike went to Ully.
But the Thunder weren’t out of it and tied the game by converting on the second 5-on-3 advantage of the period after back-to-back penalties were called on Cherniwchan for hooking and forward Tim Harrison for cross-checking. Charlie Curti found the equalizer at 17:20 to even the game at 3-3.
After the contest extended into overtime, Cherniwchan took a feed from forward Max Novak and beat Cormier with a shot from the slot at 2:27 of OT to give the Stingrays the victory. A second assist on the play came from defender Tom Parisi.
Adirondack finished with a 1-for-6 mark on the power play, while SC was 0-for-2 on the man-advantage. The Thunder outshot the Rays 36-33 overall in the contest. Cormier made 29 saves and took the loss for Adirondack.
South Carolina will host the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Saturday for Superman Night at 6:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum.