ECHL Game Recap: Savannah Ghost Pirates Vs. South Carolina Stingrays | 04/04/2024

Rachel Abramson/South Carolina Stingrays

The Savannah Ghost Pirates took to the ice on Thursday in Savannah. They are 3-0-1 for their last four games. They last met the Orlando Solar Bears and won in overtime in a shootout. Thursday night, they took on the South Carolina Stingrays. The Stingrays are trying to secure their spot in the Kelly Cup finals. I was in Savannah for the game, and if you haven’t had a chance to see Enmark Arena in person and experience a game, do it. I’ve been to many arenas nationwide, possibly one of the most pleasant experiences I’ve ever had. The staff was terrific, and the players who were not playing but in the barn stopped, talked to fans, and signed almost everything that was given to them.

Savannah has scratches on Nolan Welsh and Alex Swelitkoff due to injury. 

We saw South Carolina’s first real battle in their defensive zone in the first period, with their player losing their stick twice before the shift change. Jordan Papirny got to work in the Savannah defense, blocking shot after shot. Logan Drevitch and Joe Flemings were on fire with their speed and puck handling this game. Both teams had great skating this period, with strong defensive and offensive skills. We saw Jordan Kaplan get taken to his knees at 2:55 in with no call made, and that was the closest to a penalty we came. Brent Pedersen had the night’s first goal at 9:15 in, and South Carolina’s Jonny Evans followed with a goal at 9:34. Sav’s Anthony Collins and SC’s Garet Hunt, who threw hands with each other back in November, had some words, Hunt leads the ECHL in all-time penalty minutes. Lastly, we saw Marko Reifenberger smoosh Brandon Estes against the boards. Peter Tischke came to his partners’ defense, followed by Garet Hunt, who got into a verbal debate with Tischke, leading to shoving and words, but nothing developing further. We closed out the first period, tied 1-1. Jordan Papirny has a 3.46GAA and SV%0.878, and he saw seven shots on goal with six saves, and South Carolina Mitchell Gibson has a 2.45GAA and 0.902SV%, and he saw eleven shots on goal with ten saves. 

South Carolina Stingrays/ECHL

The second period got underway, and we saw way more gritty action from both teams, especially when they stepped up and got chirpy. Savannah’s Alex Gilmour scored the period’s first goal at 4:06, with rookie Griffin Loughran getting the assist and his first professional career point. We saw our first penalty by South Carolina’s Nick Leivermann for Cross-checking at 5:34 and great back-and-forth play until Savannah’s Simon Pinard was called for Tripping at 13:39 and received two minutes. South Carolina went on a Power Play where Jack Adams scored, tying the game. Two minutes later, Joe Fleming caught a high sticking penalty, Savannah finished the Power Kill, and SC scored their second goal, taking the lead. We closed out the second period with a penalty at 19:09, a high-sticking double minor four-minute call on South Carolina’s Nick Leivermann. Papirny saw 21 shots on goal and Gibson 10. I would have at least ten dollars if I had a dollar for every time one of the players got boarded this period. 

Bernie Walls/InsideTheRink

In the third period, both teams came in hot. Savannah had their first goal at 3:36 on the Power Play from the SC penalty at the end of the second, tying up the game. Ross Amour got our first penalty for Slashing, and then we saw SC’s Tyson Empey called for holding, resulting in Joe Fleming receiving Unsportsmanlike conduct and a two-minute minor. Then Savannah couldn’t catch a break, and we saw Alex Gilmour called for holding, resulting in SC’s Jack Adams getting a goal on the power play, which brought SC to a 4-3 lead. Captain Matt Boudens continues the Pirates curse, getting a call for roughing along with SC’s Jonny Evans. With 3:43 left in the 3rd period, we saw Alex Gilmour give us the tie, and we headed to OT. SC has 33 shots on Goal, and Savannah has 32. 

Over time, we saw four minutes go by with solid three-on-three footwork by both teams. Savannah’s Simon Pinard took multiple shots on goal, and Papirny saved a major shot one minute later after a breakaway by Ross Amour. Savannah had 33 shots on goal, and SC had 37. With no goals by either side, we headed to a shootout.

First up in the shootout is Savannah Brent Pedersen, who has no goal. Up next is SC Jonny Evans, who shoots wide. Savannah’s second up is Logan Drevitch, and he scores with a puck in the five-hole. South Carolina sends Austin Magera, and Papirny stops him. Sav sends out Ross Amour, who shoots it out of the rink and into the netting. Kevin Oneil is up for SC and hits the back of the net, bringing us to 1-1. Up last for Savannah is Simon Pinard, who is one-half of the French Connection, and he sees nothing but the net, putting the Pirates up 2-1 in SO. Nick Leivermann came out last for South Carolina, and his shot went wide, giving Savannah the win in overtime.

Savannah Ghost Pirates’ AHL and NHL affiliates

Savannah and South Carolina meet again on April 5th in Charleston. This is the final meeting of these two teams this season. South Carolina is still fighting to secure their spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, where Savannah is ranked 6th in the Southern Conference. 

Stephanie DeLaFleur

Beat Writer covering the ECHL Savannah Ghost Pirates, NHL Vegas Golden Knights and AHL Henderson Silver Knights. Follow me on X @StephiDelafleur

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