NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (SC Stingrays) - Dylan Vander Esch scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period to break a 1-1 tie and give the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (9-12-3-0) a 2-1 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays (11-11-0-0) on Tuesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Forward Tad Kozun netted the only goal of the game for South Carolina 42 seconds into the second period for his fourth goal of the season, while Vinny Muto picked up his first point as a Stingray with an assist against his former team. Goaltender Gordon Defiel turned aside 17 shots in a losing effort for SC in his second start of the season between the pipes.
SC outshot the Swamp Rabbits 15-5 in the first 20 minutes, but Greenville got on the board first and took a 1-0 lead on a power play goal by Chris Izmirlian at 9:46 of the opening period.
Kozun evened the score for South Carolina in the first minute of the second period after finding a loose rebound in the Greenville crease and banging it home past goaltender Chris Nell. Muto took the initial shot, putting the puck on net from the blue line, while defender Tim Davison added the second assist on the team’s only strike of the evening.
In a third period without much offense where the Rays outshot Greenville 6-4, Vander Esch found the game winner at 15:16 from forwards Thomas Ebbing and Will Merchant.
The Swamp Rabbits finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while South Carolina was 0-for-3 on the man-advantage. The Stingrays outshot Greenville in the game 27-19, with Nell earning the win in net after stopping 26 of the SC chances.