It was a great defensive effort for the South Carolina Stingrays (22-8-3-1) on Friday night to defeat the Atlanta Gladiators (17-19-1-2) by a score of 3-1 while allowing just 27 shots on goal at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Captain Joe Devin led the way with a goal and an assist and is now tied for the team lead in both goals (12) and points (29). Goaltender Jeff Jakaitis made 26 saves to earn his 11th win of the season and forward Tim McGauley had two assists in the victory.
Although the Rays outshot Atlanta 9-4 in the first period, neither team was able to get on the scoreboard and the teams were even after the opening frame.
SC took the lead for good at 10:24 of the second period when Devin made a drop pass McGauley just inside the offensive blue line that led to a shot from the top of the zone. The rebound got knocked in the net by defenseman Travis Walsh, who got credit for his third goal of the season in his first game back from an injury.
Just 4:07 later, Devin was on the receiving end of a highlight reel pass from linemate Taylor Cammarata and completed the play by hitting the back of the net with a wrist shot, extending the SC lead to 2-0.
Then in the third, Steven Whitney extended his point streak to eight games with his 12th goal of the year from Kelly Zajac and McGauley at 11:25.
Jakaitis’ shutout bid ended with just 1:42 left on the clock in the third period. While the Rays were on a power play, Atlanta’s Taylor Stefishen created a turnover at neutral ice and moved in alone on a breakaway. The forward beat Jakaitis for the Gladiators’ only goal of the night to make it 3-1.
Both teams finished without a strike on the power play, with Atlanta going 0-for-3 and South Carolina finishing 0-for-2. Vladar took the loss for the Gladiators despite totaling 29 saves. The Stingrays outshot Atlanta 32-27 in the contest.
South Carolina wastes no time, returning to the ice on Saturday night to take on the Orlando Solar Bears at 7:05 p.m.