ECHL: South Carolina Stingrays Retaliate to Tie the Series At One

Welcome back, Kings of the South.  

Coach Brenden Kotyk made some roster changes going into tonight’s contest. With Josh Wilkins out with a one-game suspension, some roster changes were expected after the tough loss on Saturday, but no one expected six roster moves from Kotyk. Bear Hughes, Lawton Courtnall, and Ryan Scarfo were all activated today prior to Game Two against the Florida Everblades. Hughes was activated after being put on reserve late in the season due to an injury, making his first appearance since April 7th. In return, Jackson Leppard, Austin Magera, and Matt Anderson were all placed on reserve.  

Kevin O’Neil got the party started early for the Stingrays with a power play goal three minutes into the period. The goal horn soon went off again for the Rays but was later determined no goal.  Later in the period, as a shift change was taking place, Ryan Scarfo took the ice to replace Anthony Del Gaizo in a race down to the Stingray’s goal. Scarfo was in perfect position to receive the puck from Martin Has, placing it between the arm crease of Cam Johnson to find the back of the net. Two minutes later, Jonny Evans found Ty Thorpe across the ice, extending South Carolina’s lead to three.  

The second period was far from boring. Between the two teams, 16 minutes were spent in the box, giving each side scoring opportunities throughout the period.  Even though the score remained the same, Jarid Lukosevicius had two scoring opportunities, both ricocheting off of the goalpost. The Everblades on the other hand were able to get 16 shots on Clay Stevenson in the period, compared to three in the first period, but nothing was able to slide by the netminder.  

The third period was no different than the second. A slow start for both sides but heated up halfway through the period. Ty Thorpe was called for interference with five minutes left in the game, as the Everblades pulled Johnson for the extra attacker on the power play. Lawton Courtnall seamlessly stole the puck for a breakaway empty-netter. A nasty brawl late in the third period would result in 40 minutes of penalties assessed to various players, which resulted in both Flordia’s Kyle Neuber and South Carolina’s Connor Hall being hauled off the ice. The Stingray’s would be on a powerplay until time ran down, tying the series at one apiece.  

Clay Stevenson stopped all 27 shots he faced tonight, giving South Carolina their first postseason win of the 2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Stingrays are back in action on Wednesday, April 26th, for Game 3 in Florida.  

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