The Orlando Solar Bears (6-8-3-0) prevailed 3-2 in a shootout over the South Carolina Stingrays on Sunday afternoon at the Amway Center.
The loss spoiled the professional debut of South Carolina goaltender Carmine Guerriero, who played well and made 30 saves for the Stingrays. Forwards Andrew Cherniwchan and Taylor Cammarata scored goals for the Rays in the loss during the second period.
Neither team was able to score in the opening frame and the contest entered the second period scoreless with SC out-shooting Orlando 8-5 in the first.
The Stingrays took the 1-0 lead in the second when Cherniwchan re-directed a pass by Tim McGauley past Solar Bears’ goaltender Cal Heeter and into the net at 11:38 of the frame. Forward Kelly Zajac got the play started and McGauley hit Cherniwchan on the back door for the strike. The Hinton, Alta. native now leads the Stingrays with seven goals this season.
Cammarata doubled the lead with his third goal of the year less than a minute later at 12:23 from forward Dylan Margonari. Margonari started the chance by rushing into the offensive end and taking a shot that was stopped by Heeter. He then picked up his own rebound and worked the puck off the wall before passing to Cammarata who was open in the slot. The rookie took a quick wrist shot that beat Heeter to make it 2-0 South Carolina.
The Stingrays out-shot Orlando once again in the second by a 19-9 count. But the Solar Bears fought back in the third and turned the game around with 15 shots of their own.
Orlando got on the board at 3:55 when Jean Dupuy scored to get his team going off a pass in front by Kristian Pospisil.
South Carolina held their one-goal advantage all the way until the final minute of the third when Martins Dzierkals got the equalizer for the Solar Bears with 31 seconds left on the clock. The Rays were pinned in their own end before the forward beat Guerriero from the high slot with a wrist shot up high that sent the game to overtime.
Both teams mustered three shots on goal with multiple high-quality chances during the extra frame, but neither could find the back of the net with a winner and the game headed to a shootout.
The Solar Bears converted two of three shots in the skills competition, with forwards Dzierkals and Joshua Winquist beating Guerriero, while the Stingrays went 1-for-3 with McGauley as the only shooter to hit the back of the net.
The two teams each ended the game with 32 shots on net and Heeter turned aside 30 shots to get a win over South Carolina for the second straight day. Neither team was able to score on the man-advantage, with Orlando finishing 0-for-4 on the power play and South Carolina finishing 0-for-3.
The Stingrays return to the North Charleston Coliseum for their next game, which is also against Orlando on Dec. 2 at 7:05 p.m.