NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (SC Stingrays) - Cam Askew scored twice and Joey Leach had a 4-point night as the South Carolina Stingrays (16-11-0-0) blew by the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (10-17-3-0) by a final score of 6-2 on Nickelodeon Night Saturday at the North Charleston Coliseum.
South Carolina has now won five straight games, their longest winning streak of the 2018-19 season. As a result of the streak, the Rays sit in second place in the ECHL’s South Division with 32 points.
Leach led the way with a goal and three assists for SC, while Askew scored twice and added an assist. In addition, Patrick Gaul and Christian Horn each had a goal and an assist, while Andrew Cherniwchan and Kevin McKernan each posted two helpers.
Gaul gave SC a 1-0 lead when he scored off a feed by Askew in front of the Greenville net. With Askew getting held up on the play, the rookie found the longest-tenured member of the Stingrays’ roster in front for a tap-in goal at 12:45. Gaul’s fourth goal of the year had a second assist from McKernan.
Next, Askew used a toe-drag wrist shot to the top right corner of the Greenville net to make it 2-0 South Carolina at 19:09 of the first. Gaul brought the puck into the zone and left it off for Askew to pick up the first helper, while forward Tim Harrison earned the second assist on the play.
Early on in the second period, Leach extended the South Carolina lead to 3-0 on a shot from the left point that got through traffic to beat Bartus. Leach’s second goal of the season came with assists by Horn as well as Cherniwchan.
Greenville got back in the contest with two straight goals in the middle frame. Will Merchant notched his fifth of the season at 4:17 before Michael Pelech scored on the power play at 9:23 to make it 3-2.
But the Stingrays responded with two goals of their own before the end of the period and were back on top by three. Forward Matt Pohlkamp scored his seventh of the season when he converted with a wrist shot on a 2-on-1 rush at 17:13 from Leach and McKernan.
Then Askew netted his second of the game on the power play with a re-direct of a shot by Andrew Cherniwchan in front of the Greenville net at 18:20. Leach also picked up the second assist on the Boston native’s seventh tally of the year.
Despite getting outshot 15-5 in the final period, goaltender Gordon Defiel kept the puck out of the net the entire frame to keep Greenville in the rearview mirror.
Horn sealed up the team’s 16th win of the season with an empty net goal at 15:53 of the third, with an assist from Leach for the captain’s third helper and fourth point of the night.
South Carolina was 1-for-4 on the man-advantage in the game, while Greenville finished 1-for-3 on the power play.
With their high shot count in the third period, the Swamp Rabbits outshot the Stingrays 35-31 in the game. Goaltender Garrett Bartus made 25 saves on 30 shots in a losing effort for Greenville.