NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - Forward Derek DeBlois registered two goals and two assists, but the South Carolina Stingrays (11-7) fell to the Toledo Walleye (10-9) 5-4 in overtime in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the North Charleston Coliseum Saturday night. The Stingrays lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 as the matchup shifts back to Toledo, Ohio for Game 6 on Tuesday.
The Walleye opened the scoring 3:14 into the contest as forward Martin Frk completed a 2-on-1 rush a tucked a shot over the glove of Stingrays netminder Jeff Jakaitis (L, 22 saves on 27 shots). The Stingrays responded at 12:34 as defenseman Drew MacKenzie knocked a rebound past the right pad of Walleye goaltender Neil Conway (W, 30 saves on 34 shots) from DeBlois and forward Wayne Simpson. Moments later, DeBlois put the Stingrays up 2-1, cashing in a rebound at 17:05 with help from Simpson and defenseman Michal Cajkovsky.
Walleye forward Shane Berschbach knotted the contest back up on the power play at 9:46 of the second period, but the Stingrays jumped back in front at 12:29 as Cajkovsky found DeBlois behind the defense for a breakaway tally between the legs of Conway. Forward Andrew Rowe capitalized on a rebound with 1:03 left in the stanza to give the Stingrays a two-goal lead.
In the third period, the Walleye fought back with two tallies to force overtime for the second time in the series. Frk buried his second goal of the game on the man advantage at 9:20 and team captain Jared Nightingale netted the game-tying marker at 16:10. Frk completed the hat trick, his second of the series, 5:29 into the extra session blasting a shot past the blocker of Jakaitis from the right-wing circle. The Stingrays finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play while the Walleye went 2-for-3.