ECHL Recap: South Carolina Stingrays vs. Florida Everblades | 03/02/2024

Jonny Evans for South Carolina Stingrays with the puck
Bernie Walls/InsideTheRink

The South Carolina Stingrays returned to home ice for the second of three meetings in their series against the Florida Everblades. Coming off last night’s 5-1 loss, as well as Garet Hunt’s one-game suspension kicking in, a few lineup changes were expected. With Ethan Strang getting his first professional start, he would slide into the first line with Austin Magera and Ivan Lodnia. Jonny Evans would move to the second line, with Adams and Leibold as Kameron Kielly, Jackson Leppard, and Sean Ross would round out the third.

The Everblades would draw first blood, with Logan Lambdin getting one past Bjorklund right under six minutes into the first period. With just enough time to prevent a rule violation, Thrower and Neuber would drop the mits to tilt as they headed to timeout for five minutes. Jonny Evans scored on Waeber from an impossible angle, almost behind the redline, to tie it up at one. Uens would put the Blades back on top with a goal, but Magera would answer right back with one minute left in the period with a pass from Lodnia.

The second period would pick up right where the first left off, with the intensity coming from both ends of the ice. Ivan Lodnia would give the Rays the lead with a tic-tac-toe play, as Waeber didn’t stand a chance. Later in the period, there would be action in the corner on Ross, sending Jackson Leppard into action against Zmoleck for a nice tilt. The helmets came off as the crowd rallied behind the man with the flow and the fists for a nice go around the ice before the refs interfered. Not long after, Ivan Lodnia and Sambrook got after it, solidifying a Gordie Howe night him as he wore the “A” in Garet Hunt’s absence.

The third period was full of excitement for the Rays, as newcomer Ethan Strang had a round of firsts. He scored his first professional goal in his first professional game while playing on the first line, marked within the first 1:21 of play. This goal couldn’t have been better, as Austin Magera slid one across the goal crease to let Strang have an open top shelf. The Rays would later go on the powerplay as Brett Davis would be hauled into the box for boarding. As time began to expire, Ryan Leibold found the back of the net to tally his 11th of the season, putting South Carolina up 5-2. Kyle Neuber would go after Ross, once again unleashing Leppard onto him to protect the rookie, as both would be sent to the locker room after the altercation. Neuber would get roughing, cross-checking, and a ten-minute misconduct, as Leppard would get a double minor for roughing and misconduct as well. The Stingrays would later kill 17 seconds of a 5-3, with no shots on Bjorklund and the remaining 1:44 of the Blades man advantage with Bjorklund standing on business between the pipes to lock down the win for the Rays. The Stingrays were outshot 21-33, but still managed to come out victorious.

The final game will be on Sunday to complete the three-game series, as a winner-takes-all to see who will take the points and outrank the others in the league standings.

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