ECHL Recap: South Carolina Stingrays vs Orlando Solar Bears | 03/15/2024

South Carolina Stingrays/ECHL

The Stingrays were back in action at the North Charleston Coliseum to kick off the St. Paddy’s Day Celebration against the Orlando Solar Bears. Jonny Evans moves into the first line, just in time for his 100th professional game, all in a Stingrays uniform, with Tyson Empey moving down to the second line. Mitchel Gibson was back in the lineup today and would get the start after coming back from his stint with Hershey, going up against Evan Fitzpatrick.

Luke Boka was sent to the penalty box within the first two minutes of play for a cross-check, giving the Stingrays an early man advantage. The 100 man himself, Jonny Evans, would waste no time securing his 17th goal on the season, putting the Stingray’s on top. The Solar Bears would get a shorthanded goal past Gibson on the Chays Ruddy boarding call, evening the score at one.

Spencer Meier would start the second period off with a bang, scoring his first goal as a Stingray after a little over a minute off a play from long range. Nicky Leiverman and Jack Adams would tally the assist as South Carolina would take a 2-1 lead. Shortly after, Josh Thrower and Kelly Bent would drop the mits and go jab for jab on the ice, landing them both in the box for five minutes a piece. Bryce Montgomery would take a shot from his knees, electrifying the Coliseum once again. It would be newcomer Jacob Hudson up next, who would drag the puck on a pivot and score his first professional goal, making the score 4-1. Ryan Leibold would add an additional goal in the period, unassisted, 11 seconds before the period ended as the Stingrays would head to the locker room outshooting the Solar Bears 25-12.

The third period, Tanner Schachle kicked off Orlando’s revenge tour a minute and twenty-seven seconds into the game as he took a knee to slide one past Mitch Gibson, to make it 5-2. Another goal was added by Luke Boka three minutes later, chopping down the lead to two goals. Halfway through the third period, the Solar Bears had the puck in front of Gibson as the Stingrays attempted to clear it. With Gibson unable to cover it, the puck was knocked in, adding to the Solar Bears tally. With 1:47 left, Fitzpatrick left for the extra attacker as tying the game was in sight for the newly revived Orlando team. With 19 seconds left in the game, they tied the game, forcing overtime. Alex Frye is the hero of the day of every Orlando fan, as he scored the overtime winner after almost five minutes of extra minutes.

The Stingrays were in Orlando’s shoes on Wednesday and now are on the receiving end of it, truly showing how fast the momentum can change in this league, but they have a chance at redemption. Spencer Meier continues to elevate his play on the blue line as well as the newcomers proving their value on this veteran squad that has been together all year. The club plays Florida tomorrow night for their makeup game from December and take on the Ghost Pirates in Savanah on Sunday to continue gathering points as playoffs draw closer and closer.

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