NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - Josh Gratton scored his first two goals as a member of the South Carolina Stingrays (22-17-2-0) and Angus Redmond turned aside a career-high 39 shots in a 5-3 victory to secure a series win over the Orlando Solar Bears (20-17-3-0) on Sunday afternoon.
Three Stingrays skaters registered multiple assists in the victory, including forwards Andrew Cherniwchan and Tad Kozun, as well as defender Drew Baker.
Grant Besse led off the scoring 4:58 into the game while SC was on the penalty kill after a boarding penalty was called on Sam Fioretti. Besse picked up a pass from Cherniwchan on the left wing and moved into the offensive zone to the net before sliding a backhand shot between the legs of Orlando goaltender Corbin Boes for his 15th goal of the season to make it 1-0.
The Solar Bears tied things up at 1-1 at 8:04 of the first on a goal by Jonne Tammela.
South Carolina re-took the lead on a goal off a deflection by defender Kevin McKernan at 11:06 of the first on a shot by forward Matt Pohlkamp. Sam Fioretti added the second assist on the strike, his 14th helper of the year.
Once again, Orlando evened the score with a shorthanded goal by Mathieu Foget at 13:03 and the two teams were all square at 2-2 at the end of the first period.
Tim Davison gave South Carolina the lead at 3-2 with a power play goal on a long wrist shot from the left point at 12:17 of the middle frame. Cherniwchan and Tad Kozun had helpers on the goal, which was Davison’s third of the season.
Less than a minute later, Tammela scored his second tally of the game for Orlando and for the third time, the Solar Bears had come back to even the game at 3-3.
The two teams traded chances for most of the third period until Gratton broke through for the Stingrays on a deflection at the side of the Solar Bears net on a shot by Kozun. The puck trickled over the left pad of Boes and into the net at 16:40 for Gratton’s first strike as a member of the Rays to make it 4-3.
After multiple major penalties were assessed to Orlando in the final minutes, Gratton found the back of the net for a second time off a feed by Patrick Gaul with just 16 seconds remaining at 19:44.
SC defenseman Drew Baker assisted on both of Gratton’s late goals to earn his first two points of the season for the Stingrays.
Two power play goals in the game had South Carolina at 2-for-7 on the man-advantage, all while holding Orlando off the board on the power play (0-for-2). SC did not put themselves down a man at all in the second and third periods. The Solar Bears outshot the Rays 42-32 in the game and Boes finished with 27 saves in a losing effort.