After goaltender Hunter Shepard made 20 saves in the first period to keep his team in the game, the South Carolina Stingrays (18-14-6-3) scored three straight goals, including two on the power play, to pull off a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (20-13-8-2) on Saturday night at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Captain Andrew Cherniwchan netted the game-winner with 10:35 to go in the third period, while defender Macoy Erkamps scored for the second straight night and forward Justin Florek earned a pair of assists in the victory for the Stingrays.
With the win, South Carolina currently controls fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings, keeping themselves in playoff position.
Greenville took an early lead at 3:04 of the opening period when Anthony Rinaldi made it 1-0 with his second goal of the week against the Rays on a rebound in front.
The Stingrays had a quick response, however, as defenseman Jordan Klimek evened things up at 1-1 with his fourth goal of the season. The tally came on a shot that beat goaltender Jacob Ingham from the left circle at 5:49 of the first frame with a lone assist on the play given to Florek.
Shepard was kept busy in the first 20 minutes, stopping a total of 20 shots to keep his team in the contest, and the clubs headed to the intermission in a deadlock.
The Swamp Rabbits went back ahead in the second period after back-to-back even strength goals from forwards Garrett Thompson and Shawn Cameron at 2:12 and 12:03 controlled the contest by a 3-1 margin.
Before the end of the middle frame, Dan DeSalvo used a turnaround wrist shot in the slot to beat Ingham for his 10th goal of the year and put SC within one goal at 3-2. The tally, which came on the power play at 17:12, also had a single assist for Florek.
Erkamps found the equalizer at 7:29 of the third, scoring from right in front of the net to tie things up at 3-3. Assists on the play went to forwards Marc Johnstone and Dylan Steman.
18 seconds after the goal, a scrum broke out in the Greenville end after a net-front battle. Ingham was called for roughing and leaving the crease on the play, giving SC a power play. Cherniwchan capitalized on the man-advantage opportunity, scoring his eighth of the season with an assist from Steman at 9:25.
The strike was the 112th of Cherniwchan’s Stingrays career, moving him into sole possession of third place on the team’s all-time goal-scoring list.
Greenville pulled Ingham for an extra attacker in the final minutes but was unable to best Shepard late, who finished with 35 saves to earn the sixth victory of his rookie season.
In addition to their two power play tallies, SC held Greenville to an 0-for-6 finish on the man-advantage to win the special teams battle. The Swamp Rabbits outshot the Rays 38-26 in the contest and Ingham ended with 22 stops in a losing effort.
The Stingrays embark on a 4-game road trip next week starting in Indy to face the Fuel on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. before three meetings in Wheeling with the Nailers over the weekend. SC returns home to the North Charleston Coliseum for Autism Awareness Night on Wednesday, April 14 against Orlando at 7:05.
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