ECHL Recap Game Recap: South Carolina Stingrays v. Orlando Solar Bears | 1/13/24

The South Carolina Stingrays started off their long homestead with Military Night in the Coliseum against the Orlando Solar Bears. The Solar Bears lead the Stingrays 4-2 this season and are currently ranked second in the south and third in the conference. Ivan Lodina dressed for his first game of the season, as Josh Wilkins played in his 100th ECHL game, and Kevin O’Neil tallied his 200th professional game. 

The Stingrays drew first blood three minutes into the period as Luko laid a pass on Magera’s stick to send it past Ellis. Josh Wilkins would go down hard on the boards, triggering a brawl with Jack Adams and Tyson Feist. Both would be sent to the box, but Orlando would go on the power play. Austin Magera had a shorthanded opportunity early in the penalty, but it would be Garet Hunt at seven minutes to put the Rays up by two. This was the captains first goal on the season and man was it a beauty. Josh Wilkins kept the good times rolling as the penally kill just ended, putting South Carolina up by three, eight minutes into the game. Orlando called a timeout to regroup. 

Jarid Lukosevicious took a nasty hit against the boards, sending Tyson Empey at Jereime Biakabutuka. Both would be hauled into the box for roughing, and the Rays continued to dominate the Solar Bears during 4-4. As time wined down in the period, a solar bear went after Lukosevicius, once again triggering a full out brawl on the ice. 

Matt Carkner must have given some intermission speech in the Orlando locker room as the Bears scored two goals in less than two minutes. Mitchel Hoelscher, the team’s All-Star representative, tallied the first goal and an assist on the second. Tensions stayed hot into the second period, with five minutes left, another tilt with the clubs in front of the goal. Lukosevicius, Empey, and Leiverman were all involved, with Empey and Leiverman heading to the doghouse for double minors. The Rays would go on a power play from the tussle, which Jackson Leppard capitalized on. A dropoff from Josh Wilkins to Ivan Lodnia, who found Leppard in front of the net, making the score 4-2. 

A solar bear took down defenseman Jon McDonald in the corner, allowing Jaydon Dureau to get a 1-1 with Bjorklund, chopping the lead down to one goal. Brenden Kotyk was fired up chatting with the refs, but the goal would stand. With 40 seconds left in the period, Orlando would even the score as Dureau would get another. A controversial goal, as Ellis’ goal had come off for over a minute and the refs did not call it, so play continued and ended in a Solar Bears goal. 

All tied up going into the third period, the tension continued between the clubs. The Stingrays continued to attack the zone and put pucks onto Ellis. A dog pile in front of the trying to find the puck to tip it in, as it pushed Ellis into the goal. The linesman waived off the goal, and play continued. The time would wind down as we headed to overtime. 

With three on three underway, Michael Kim fired the first shot on Ellis but was denied access. Almost a minute into the extra time, Lukosevicius sends us home with a snipe shot past Ellis. The best welcome home celebration ensued, as Lukosevicius has just returned from his AHL loan, marking his first appearance on home ice in the new year. This game was full of bears, brawls, and breakaways!

The Stingrays return to home ice Sunday, as the kids takeover duties against the Jacksonville Icemen. 

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