NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - After falling behind early the South Carolina Stingrays (25-22-5-0) got themselves back in Tuesday’s game with three straight goals, but ultimately fell by a score of 5-3 to the Norfolk Admirals (21-25-4-3) at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Grant Besse provided the offense for the Stingrays with a 3-point night, scoring two goals and adding an assist to go along with a +2 rating. Jonathan Charbonneau assisted on both of Besse’s goals, while defenseman Vinny Muto struck for his fourth goal of the year.
The Admirals scored the first three goals of the game to race out to a 3-0 lead before the Rays made their comeback. Kelly Klima netted the first of his two tallies on the night at 1:07 of the first period before Chris Crane scored his 14th of the year at 7:01 to make it 2-0. Then at 8:00 of the second, Matt McMorrow pushed the Norfolk lead to three goals.
South Carolina got on the board later in the second when Charbonneau moved into the offensive zone on the right wing and found Besse in front of the net for his first strike of the contest. The University of Wisconsin grad’s 23rd goal of the year made it 3-1 at 12:50 of the middle period and also came with a second assist from Cam Bakker.
25 seconds later, Besse hit the back of the net again on a play started by Charbonneau. After controlling the puck deep in the Norfolk zone, Charbonneau moved the puck to the side of the cage for Andrew Cherniwchan. Once again, Besse was open in front of the net and Cherniwchan fed the puck to the team’s leading goal scorer for his 24th tally of the season at 13:15 to cut the Norfolk lead to 3-2. Besse has now scored 11 goals in his last 13 games for South Carolina.
Before the end of the second, Muto evened the game at 3-3 with assists from Besse and forward Tim Harrison at 18:30.
The Stingrays outshot Norfolk 18-15 in the third but were unable to get any more pucks past goaltender Ty Reichenbach. The Admirals re-took the lead on Klima’s second of the game at 7:25 of the final period and never looked back.
With SC goaltender Parker Milner at the bench for an extra attacker, Norfolk capitalized and sealed the victory when Ben Duffy netted his 15th of the season at 19:20.
The Admirals outshot the Stingrays 40-36 in the game and scored the only man-advantage tally in the contest, going 1-for-3 on the power play. South Carolina ended at 0-for-4. Reichenbach totaled 33 saves to earn the win for his club, while Milner made 35 stops in the crease for the Stingrays.