Whitney scores game-winner in OT for Stingrays

Whitney scores game-winner in OT for Stingrays
Courtesy: SC Stingrays

DULUTH, GA - Steven Whitney converted on a penalty shot in overtime to give the South Carolina Stingrays (9-2-2-0) a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Gladiators (8-5-1-1) at the Infinite Energy Center on Sunday afternoon.

Forwards Andrew Cherniwchan and Patrick Gaul also had goals for the Stingrays in the victory, while Kelly Zajac picked up two assists.

Cherniwchan opened the scoring at 1:26 of the first when Zajac hit him with a pass in between the circles. The Hinton, Alta. native was wide open and fired the puck to the top right corner of the net with his sixth goal of the season to make it 1-0 South Carolina.

11 seconds later the Gladiators evened things up at 1-1 on a goal by Luke Sandler at 1:37.

Alex Gacek gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead at 8:38 of the opening period, scoring his fifth of the season from Josh Atkinson and Taylor Stefishen.

Later in the frame, the Rays were forced to kill a five minute major penalty to Trevor Gillies. They did so with flying colors, allowing only two shots on goal during the entire length of the Atlanta man-advantage.

South Carolina then came out for the second period with good energy and tied the game on a tally by Patrick Gaul. His third of the year came at 1:56 of the second period on a rebound after initial shots on goal by both Zajac and Cherniwchan.

The two teams held each other off the board for the remainder of regulation, with the final 38 minutes of the game being played without a goal.

After out-shooting Atlanta 5-1 in overtime during the opening 3:31 of play, the Stingrays were awarded a penalty shot when the Gladiators covered the puck in their crease.

Whitney was selected to take the opportunity and beat goaltender Dan Vladar with a backhand shot to the left part of the net to win the game. The Reading, Mass. native is now tied for the team lead in goal scoring as he, Cherniwchan and Nick Johnson each have six tallies on the season.

After making 15 saves in the first two periods, Stingrays' goaltender Adam Carlson was removed from the game at the start of the third period due to an apparent injury. His replacement, Parker Milner, played well in relief and made 11 saves to pick up the win.

South Carolina outshot the Gladiators 33-28 in the contest, while neither team converted on the power play with the Rays finishing 0-for-1 and Atlanta ending at 0-for-4. Vladar stopped 30 shots for the Gladiators in a losing effort.

South Carolina travels back to Atlanta for a Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Gladiators on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. The Stingrays return to the North Charleston Coliseum on to host the Orlando Solar Bears on Dec. 2 at 7:05 p.m.

-per South Carolina Stingrays