After tying the game in the final seconds of regulation, the Colorado Eagles claimed Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Finals on a power play goal by Matt Register at 10:52 of the second overtime to take a 1-0 series lead late Friday night at the Budweiser Event Center.
South Carolina goals were scored by Scott Tanski and Steven McParland, while goaltender Parker Milner was excellent for the Stingrays once again and stopped 43 Colorado shots.
Matt Garbowsky got the scoring started for Colorado at 16:11 of the first period, collecting his own rebound after a first-save by Milner and poking the puck into the net to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
The Stingrays tied the game at 1-1 with the lone goal of the second from Tanski, who got his first point of the playoffs by deflecting a Marcus Perrier shot past Colorado netminder Lucas Hafner and into the top corner of the cage. The goal, which came at 10:14 of the middle frame, was also assisted by Max Nicastro.
South Carolina took the lead with a goal late in the third period by Steven McParland, who put home a pass by Derek Arnold to make it 2-1 Stingrays at 17:27 of the final frame. Olivier Archambault also picked up an assist on the play, which gave the Rays their first lead of the series with just 2:33 remaining in the contest.
But Colorado evened the score at 2-2 in the waning moments of the third to force overtime when Garbowsky scored his second of the game at 19:58. The forward knocked the puck in past Milner and the Eagles had life with just two seconds left in the game.
Nothing was decided in the first overtime, despite South Carolina outshooting Colorado 10-6 in the first extra session.
The Eagles clinched the win on Register’s goal, a shot from the middle of the point on the power play, at 10:52 of double-overtime.
Hafner picked up the win in net for Colorado, making 32 saves in the game while playing 89:17. The Eagles outshot South Carolina in the game 46-34.
Register’s game-winner was the only special teams goal of the night as Colorado finished 1-for-7 with the man-advantage and the Stingrays were 0-for-7.
Game 2 of the Kelly Cup Finals series will take place at the Budweiser Event Center on Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. EST.