Rays Improve Record To 7-1 With Sweep of Royals

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - Defenseman Frankie Simonelli scored a shorthanded goal in the second period and goaltender Parker Milner made 38 saves as the South Carolina Stingrays (7-1-0-0) won their third straight game by a score of 2-1 over the Reading Royals (5-3-1-0) on Wednesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.

Andrew Cherniwchan also contributed with his sixth goal of the year in the first period, while Patrick Gaul, who again played defense for most of the game, set up the winning goal while on the penalty kill.

Reading scored their only goal of the night 3:19 into the first period to take an early lead when defenseman Nick Luukko fired a shot past Milner to make it 1-0.

After taking a minor penalty for elbowing, Cherniwchan exited the penalty box and jumped right into a play for South Carolina by grabbing the puck in the offensive zone. The team's leading scorer then swung and fired a shot through traffic that got past goaltender Mark Dekanich to even the score at 1-1.

Assists on the tally went to forward Robbie Baillargeon and defenseman Danny Federico. Baillargeon now has seven helpers in his first six professional games.

A penalty called on Steven Whitney for slashing late in the second period put the Royals on a man-advantage with 4:16 to go in the middle frame. But shortly after the penalty was called, team captain Joe Devin broke the puck out of the Rays' zone and fed it to Patrick Gaul on the left wing in neutral ice. Gaul moved into the offensive zone and placed a perfect pass on the stick of Simonelli, who deflected it past Dekanich for a shorthanded goal to give South Carolina a 2-1 lead.

Despite getting out-shot 16-5 in the final period the Stingrays held on for the victory, with Milner stopping all chances that came his way.

South Carolina held Reading quiet on the power play (0-for-6), while also coming up empty on three man-advantage chances of their own. The Royals held a 39-22 shot on goal edge in the contest, while Dekanich finished with 20 saves.

The Stingrays continue their 5-game homestand Friday night when the Atlanta Gladiators visit the North Charleston Coliseum. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:05 p.m.