Forward Maxime Lacriox recorded a hat trick as the South Carolina Stingrays (30-22-3-1) defeated the Gwinnett Gladiators (30-15-7-4) 5-2 in front of 6,114 on the sixth annual Pink in the Rink presented by East Cooper Medical Center Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Lacroix kicked off the scoring on the power play at 14:34 of the first period blasting a shot past the glove of Gladiators goaltender Joe Palmer (L, 24 saves on 29 shots) from the right-wing circle. Defenseman Johann Kroll and forward Mike Hamilton earned assists. Forward Trent Campbell gave the Stingrays a 2-0 lead with an unassisted shorthanded tally at 18:32.
Lacroix found the twine two minutes into the second period for his eighth goal of the season with help from Campbell and forward Daniel Koger. At 10:17, Lacroix completed the hat trick on the man advantage beating Palmer under the left arm from the right circle. Kroll and defenseman Brett Flemming added assists. Forward Tyler Murovich put the Gladiators on the board on power play at 12:36 knocking a rebound past netminder Philipp Grubauer (W, 25 saves on 27 shots). Forwards Bryan Brutlag and Justin Milo recorded assists. Milo cut the Stingrays lead in half at 17:40 with a man-advantage marker from Brutlag and defenseman Paul Flache.
Stingrays forward Chris Higgins, in his first game since December 3, completed the game scoring at 8:57 of the final frame from Campbell and Hamilton. The Stingrays finished the contest 3-for-9 on the power play while the Gladiators went 2-for-7.
The Stingrays host the Gladiators tomorrow, Sunday, February 26 for Kid's Day at 4:00 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum. Kid's tickets are just $5! Arrive early and play in the snow in Snow Day presented by Yard Icing outside the Montague Terrace and stay after the game for postgame autographs with the entire team!