The South Carolina Stingray’s ran out of sting.
In a must win-game for the Stingrays, they would be able to hold the Everblades without a shot for the first 7:43 of the opening period. Florida was the first to draw the penalty, giving the Stingrays the first advantage of the night. The advantage didn’t last long, though, as the Rays were hauled into the box a minute into the power play. Clay Stevenson displayed a show-stopping save, juggling the puck with his stick and glove, and finally snagged it midair.
The Stingrays continued to battle against Cam Johnson (and the goal post) at the start of the second period. After Matt Anderson was hauled to the box for a double minor, the Stingrays ignited an offensive effort against the Everblades. Ryan Scarfo and Bear Hughes both had shorthanded attempts on goal and got the crowd behind them to finish out the last minute of the long penalty kill. Flordia’s Logan Lambdin eventually squeezed a puck past Clay Stevenson, giving Florida the game’s first goal. The Rays continued to battle throughout the period, putting ten shots on Johnson.
The Stingrays came out with a bang in the third, as Josh Wilkins found Bear Hughes to put one past Cam Johnson for a power play goal. Both goalies continued battling it out, but neither let their foot off the gas, forcing overtime. Florida quickly took control of the puck, gaining an offensive advantage to start the extra minutes, but South Carolina refused to back down. Both netminders continued to display tremendous efforts while their teammates put in work at the other end, but all good things must come to an end, right? With that, Sean Josling sealed Florida’s ticket to the next round as he maneuvered the puck around a sprawled-out Clay Stevenson, officially ending their season.
A team effort for the entire game and a full battle until the end. What a year this group had.