An overtime goal by Grant Besse gave the Norfolk Admirals (14-19-5-1) a 3-2 win over the South Carolina Stingrays (24-9-4-1) on Saturday night at the Norfolk Scope.
Forwards Kelly Zajac and Hampus Gustafsson had the goals for the Stingrays in a losing effort.
Despite the loss, South Carolina picked up one point in the standings Saturday as a result of their second consecutive overtime game and finished with three total points in Norfolk on the weekend.
The Admirals took an early 1-0 lead at 1:12 of the first frame on a goal by Patrick D’Amico.
But South Carolina fought back and tied the game at 1-1 later in the period on Kelly Zajac’s ninth goal of the season. After bringing the puck up ice and into the offensive zone, Zajac dished it off to defenseman Paul Geiger, who blasted a shot on goal. An initial save was made by Norfolk goaltender Jamie Murray, but the rebound went right to Zajac, who wasted no time shoving it into the net. Credit for the second assist on the goal was given to defenseman Joey Leach.
Hampus Gustafsson gave the Stingrays their first lead of the night at 14:10 of the second period with his second goal in as many nights. Marcus Perrier started a rush up ice and left the puck for Gustafsson near the right circle in the offensive end. The rookie center then unleashed a wrist shot that beat Murray to make it 2-1 Stingrays. A second assist on the goal was given to forward Nick Roberto.
Norfolk tied the game at 2-2 in the third period on a power play goal by Alex Pompeo at 10:12.
The contest stayed even for the remainder of regulation and headed into overtime. After South Carolina had the early edge in shots on goal 15-8 after the first period, the Admirals controlled the chances for the remainder of the game and had a 32-30 shots advantage overall in the game.
Grant Besse scored the game-winner for Norfolk at 4:37 of the extra session, securing an extra point for the Admirals by beating Adam Carlson on a shot that snuck in with just 22 seconds remaining.
Murray picked up the win by making 28 saves for the Admirals, while Carlson suffered the loss and stopped 29 shots. Norfolk had the only power play goal of the night, going 1-for-2 on the power play while South Carolina finished 0-for-3.
The Stingrays next travel to Jacksonville to battle the Icemen on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. South Carolina returns home for three games next weekend on January 26, 27 and 28. Friday and Saturday’s games against Orlando begin at 7:05 p.m., while Sunday’s contest is against Norfolk at 3:05.
-per South Carolina Stingrays