ECHL Game Recap: South Carolina Stingrays vs. Florida Everblades | 03/03/2024

Austin Magera takes faceoff for South Carolina Stingrays
Bernie Walls/Inside the Rink Austin Magera takes faceoff for South Carolina Stingrays

The South Carolina Stingrays were back in action for the final game of the weekend against the Florida Everblades. Garet Hunt returns to the fourth line after serving his one-game suspension, as Ian Mackey moves up to the third line. No surprise that Mitchell Gibson would get the start against Cam Johnson tonight.

The first period would have a slow start, with many turnovers from both teams. It would be newcomer Ethan Strang to get things rolling as he would pick up Ivan Lodina’s rebound and bury it. This would be Strang the Stud’s second goal in his second professional game on our second recorded shot on goal. The period would wind down with a few good attempts on goal for the Stingrays, ending the period leading the Blades in shots 6-5.

The second period heated up as, to no one’s surprise, Kyle Neuber and Garet Hunt started the period in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct after the first period ended, putting both clubs at four on the ice. Connor Moore would have a 2-1 opportunity and sweep one past Johnson to tally his 100th career point and give South Carolina a two-goal lead. Right as the penalty was ending, Kieran Craig would have a one-on-one with Gibson and would send one top-shelf, chopping the lead down to one. Later in the period, Benton Maass broke his stick using himself to block a shot and, in the process, grabbed the stick of a Blades player, sending him to the penalty box for holding the stick. Garet Hunt soon joined him for a slash, putting it at 5-3 for a minute and some change. Sean Josling would seize the opportunity, with Cam Darcy and Will Reilly registering assists. The rest of the minor was killed. The Stingrays had a huge opportunity as Kameron Keilly went down with a high stick to the face, which earned them a four-minute double minor. Unfortunately, the club could only get three shots off on Johnson. With 18 seconds remaining in the second period, Ian Mackey and Logan Lambdin were both called with roughing, ending the period just like we started with four on four.

The third period continued with the four on four, with both penalties expiring with no goals scored. With the first seven minutes down, South Carolina had yet to get a shot on Johnson, with Florida having dominating play. A spark would ignite as Jon McDonald would get a feed from Ian Mackey and dance straight to the net to put South Carolina on top. Florida would get another man advantage opportunity with Leibold hauled to the box on a delay of game call but would only be able to get one shot on Gibson. Florida would wait until there was one minute left to pull Johnson to the bench for the extra attacker, but it would not be enough.

South Carolina wanted this win more than the Everblades, as you could tell in their demeanor, penalty kill, and overall ice presence. They are now four points above the Everblades in the standings and took the weekend series 2-1. They hit the road next weekend to take on Savannah and Atlanta before returning home for a Wednesday night game to take on the Toledo Walleye.

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