The South Carolina Stingrays scored three goals in the second period en route to a 4-2 win over the Florida Everblades Wednesday night at the Germain Arena. The victory snapped a four-game winless streak for the Stingrays, and earned South Carolina rookie goaltender Vitek Vanecek, who stopped 25 Florida shots, his first professional win.
In his first game back with the club after a stint in the American Hockey League (AHL), forward Derek DeBlois provided the spark that South Carolina needed in the second period. Florida forward Matt Willows walked the puck out in front of his own net. DeBlois surprised him, knocking the puck off his stick and under a startled Florida goaltender Daniel Altshuller for his first goal of the season. The goal came at 6:05 of the second period and tied the game, 1-1.
South Carolina would grab the momentum and added two more goals before the period came to a close. Austin Fyten scored on a great passing play at 11:22 to give South Carolina a 2-1 lead. Forward Brett Cameron drove the puck down the left wing. He flipped a pass from behind the net into the slot that deflected off the stick of teammate Stephan Vigier. It came right to Fyten, and the forward lifted a shot up, and over, the glove of Altshuller for his first goal of the season.
Kyle Kraemer would make it 3-1 South Carolina in the closing minutes of the period. With a delayed penalty, South Carolina defenseman Bobby Shea collected the puck on the right point. He executed a spin move, and found a wide-open Kraemer on the left wing. The forward walked towards the goal and out-waited an overaggressive Altshuller. Kraemer stepped around the goaltender and tucked the puck into the open goal at 17:33 of the second period for his second goal of the season.
The Everblades would cut the Stingrays lead to one early in the third period as Brant Harris scored a shorthanded, breakaway goal at 1:13 to make it 3-2 South Carolina. However, Vanecek would stand tall, stopping eight Florida shots in the third period including a furious rally late. The Stingrays sealed the win with only eight seconds remaining as Joey Leach scored an empty net goal.
South Carolina was 0-for-3 on the power play while Florida was 0-for-4. The Everblades outshot the Stingrays 27 -25 on the evening.
The two clubs play again Friday at the Germain Arena at 7:30 p.m. Fans may head to King Street Grille-Northwoods, the Official Watch Party Destination of the Stingrays, to catch the game and enjoy select drafts beers for just $3. South Carolina returns home Sunday at 3:05 p.m. versus Evansville. It's Kids Kickin' Cancer with Camp Happy Days presented by APECS and South Carolina Stingrays/Crews Subaru & Charleston County Parks Family Days with $5 Kids Tickets & $5 Kids Meals. Ticket information is available at StingraysHockey.com.