NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Florida Everblades (36-13-5-0) scored three times in the second period and held off a late push from the South Carolina Stingrays (25-23-5-0) to earn a 5-3 win on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
South Carolina got goals from Andrew Cherniwchan, Jonathan Charbonneau and Jordan Samuels-Thomas in the contest, while defender Steve Johnson picked up an assist in his first game as a Stingray.
With a goal and an assist in the game, Cherniwchan moved past the 50-point mark this season for the first time in his career. In 53 contests this season, the Northern Michigan University graduate now has 20 goals and 31 assists for a team-high 51 points which is 11th in the ECHL.
Joe Cox got the scoring started for the Everblades at 8:40 of the first period, one-timing a pass by Kyle Platzer from the top of the goal crease by SC netminder Parker Milner to make it 1-0 Florida.
Cherniwchan responded later in the frame to even the score at 13:12, wristing a shot past the blocker of Jeremy Helvig to even the game at 1-1. Forward Tad Kozun picked up the lone assist on the scoring play, and the teams were all square at the end of the opening period.
Just 12 seconds into the second, Nate Perkovich got control of a turnover behind the SC net and used a wraparound to sneak the puck past Milner’s right pad. After the play was initially ruled no-goal by the referee, the call was changed to a goal after a review and gave the Everblades a 2-1 advantage.
Florida added tallies at 8:31 and 10:50 of the second from Michael Neville and John McCarron to extend their lead to 4-1.
Charbonneau got on the board later in the frame at 18:51 to cut the deficit to 4-2 with his 10th goal of the season from Cherniwchan and defender Tim Davison. An initial shot by Cherniwchan missed the net and bounced off the end boards to Charbonneau, who banked the puck into the goal off an Everblades player in the crease.
South Carolina cut it to a one-goal game late in the third when Samuels-Thomas scored a power play tally at 16:54 of the final frame. An initial shot by Grant Besse was saved by Helvig, but Samuels-Thomas quickly put the rebound up high into the top shelf to make it 4-3. Johnson earned the second assist on the play.
The Rays continued to attack in the final minutes and got a late power play opportunity when Florida defenseman Josh Wesley cleared the puck over the glass from his own zone which resulted in a delay of game penalty, but were unable to find an equalizer. With Milner pulled in favor of an extra attacker in the final minute, McCarron picked up his second goal of the game when he sent the puck into the empty net at 19:28.
The Everblades outshot the Stingrays 39-29 in the game. South Carolina scored the only power play goal of the contest, finishing 1-for-4 on the man-advantage while Florida was 0-for-3. Helvig turned aside 26 shots to earn the victory, while Milner stopped 34 in a losing effort for SC.