The South Carolina Stingrays faced off against the Solar Bears to open up their season. The reigning Southern Division Champs faced off against former Stingrays forward Alex Fortin but also debuted a new captain. Garet Hunt was seen wearing the C during warm-ups and was later officially announced before the puck dropped. Connor Moore and Josh Wilkins will both serve as alternate captains.
The Rays were off to a slow start on opening night at the North Charleston Coliseum. Within less than four minutes for the puck dropping, the Tanner Dickinson of the Solar Bears found the back of the net past Garin Bjorklund on their first shot on goal.
The Rays would then go on the penalty kill for too many men on the ice, and the Solar Bears would quickly capitalize with the extra attacker, extending the lead to 2-0.
A few minutes later, Jérémie Biakabutuka would be called for hooking. Jarid Luckosevisous would hit the goal post, sending the crowd into a frenzy, but Austin Magera would slip one past Brandon Halverson to sound the goal horn for the first time this season. Kevin O’Neil and Conner Moore both credited for the assist.
At the end of the first period, Jonny Evans would be hauled to the box for a double minor. There was a breakaway 2-1 opportunity with about a minute left in the minor, but the forwards just missed the goal to tie before the end of the period.
The Rays started out the second period with a bang, with Jack Adams entering the period and scoring on the power play 1:10 into the second period. Luke Boka would answer back for the Solar Bears not long after to help extend the lead once again, 3-1.
Jack Adams was not having that, as 15 seconds later, he tapped the rocket from Cole Fraser sent from the blue line past Brandon Halverson. The 6’6” Notre Dame rookie has certainly come out with a bang during the second period.
13 minutes into the period, Jimmy Mazza lobbed the puck past Bjorklund to regain the two-goal advantage. South Carolina continued to have many scoring opportunities, including a few breakaways on the penalty kills, and at the period, were outshooting Orlando 32-15.
With 2:24 remaining on the Evans double minor at the start of the period, the Rays were already struggling to clear pucks out of the defensive zone. A quick goal from Steve Jandric with the help of Patrick Newell and Ben Carroll
South Carolina continued to search for the back of the net and moved the puck well but could not capitalize on their open shots and 2-1 opportunities. The Solar Bears would get one more goal before the end of the period with three minutes left by defenseman Chris Harpur.
South Carolina heads north to face Newfoundland for a three-game stretch and won’t return home until November 4th, where they will face the Savannah Ghost Pirates.