Stingrays suffer 1st loss of the year, 3-2 in Greenville

GREENVILLE, SC - The Greenville Swamp Rabbits (4-3-1-0) came from two goals down and scored three straight to defeat the South Carolina Stingrays (4-1-0-0) by a final score of 3-2 on Friday night at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Forward Nick Johnson and defenseman Travis Walsh scored goals for South Carolina in the defeat, while goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 36 saves in his first regular season appearance while on a rehab stint with the Rays.

Johnson opened the scoring and made it 1-0 South Carolina at 12:07 of the first period when he netted his second goal of the season from defenseman Frankie Simonelli. After taking a pass in neutral ice, Johnson moved down the right wing in the Greenville end before cutting to the middle with a nice move and shooting low under the blocker of goaltender Ty Rimmer.

The Stingrays extended the lead to 2-0 when Travis Walsh went coast-to-coast and slipped a backhand shot over the glove of Rimmer while a power play was coming to an end at 6:36 of the second period.

But Greenville clawed their way back into the game with two goals in the second half of the middle frame. First, it was defenseman Joe Houk who scored at 12:17 to make it 2-1. Then defenseman Chad Duchesne knotted things up with a shot from the left point at 16:35.

The teams skated evenly for the majority of the third period, but Houk broke the tie with his second of the game at 17:51 to put the Swamp Rabbits in front for good.

South Carolina had a few chances to tie the game late and pulled Vanecek for an extra attacker in the final minute but came up short for the first time this season.

After the shot count was even at 10-10 in the first, Greenville had more chances in the second and third periods, out-shooting the Stingrays 39-27 in the contest.

Walsh's power play tally was the only one of the night on either side with South Carolina finishing 1-for-4 on the man-advantage while the Swamp Rabbits came up empty at 0-for-3. Rimmer picked up the victory in between the pipes for Greenville, making 25 saves in the game.

South Carolina is back at home on Sunday to take on the Jacksonville Icemen at 3:05 p.m.

-per South Carolina Stingrays