NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - The Atlanta Gladiators took a one-goal lead into the third period and held the Stingrays' offense quiet for the final frame to claim a 4-2 win in South Carolina's first preseason game of the 2017-18 season on Friday night at the Carolina Ice Palace.
Joe Devin scored twice in the first period for South Carolina, with both tallies coming on an assist by Tim McGauley. The Stingrays finished the exhibition contest a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Devin wasted no time putting the Rays in front, scoring in the opening minute. 37 seconds in McGauley found his captain with a pass through the slot and Devin beat goaltender Troy Passingham with a shot to the top left part of the net.
Atlanta evened things up at 1-1 on a goal by Patrick D'Amico with assists from Phil Lane and Eric Shand at 6:14 of the first.
Devin then got his second of the period less than a minute later at 6:48 to put South Carolina back in front 2-1. Once again it was McGauley who picked up the assist, his second of the evening.
The Gladiators scored with three minutes left in the opening frame to re-tie the contest at 2-2. Forward Thomas Frazee deflected a shot by Derek Nesbitt past Rays' netminder Carmine Guerriero to send the teams into the locker room with an even score.
Atlanta notched the only goal of the middle frame, with D'Amico finding the back of the net for a second time to give the Gladiators a 3-2 advantage at 3:12 of the second. The goal turned out to be the game-winner, as South Carolina was unable to muster any more offense later in the matchup.
The game remained a 3-2 contest until the final minute when South Carolina pulled Guerriero for an extra attacker. Atlanta's Nathan Todd sealed the win for his side with an empty net marker at 19:49.
South Carolina finished 0-for-1 on the power play in the game, while Atlanta was 0-for-3. The Gladiators led in shots on goal, 30-15.
Guerriero took the loss, making 26 saves, while Passingham stopped 13 shots to earn a victory.
The Stingrays are back in action Saturday night when they host the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at the Carolina Ice Palace in their final preseason contest at 7 p.m.
The Stingrays open their 25th anniversary season at the North Charleston Coliseum on Oct. 20 against Greenville at 7:05 p.m.