The visiting Norfolk Admirals (17-21-5-1) earned a regulation victory over the South Carolina Stingrays (27-11-4-1) for the first time this season by scoring three times in a short span during the second period on their way to a 5-3 decision.
Stingrays goals came from defenseman Travis Walsh and forwards Tim McGauley and Marcus Perrier, while forward Joe Devin had two assists.
Walsh opened the scoring at 5:51 of the first period with a wrist shot up high over goaltender Ty Reichenbach. The defenseman’s third goal of the season gave the Rays a 1-0 advantage and came with assists from Devin and Steven Whitney.
South Carolina extended their lead to 2-0 while on the power play with a deflection in front of the net by McGauley on a shot from the point by Walsh at 12:20 of the first period. McGauley’s tally gave him a score in each of the Stingrays’ last three games and also had a second assist from Devin.
But Norfolk bounced back and got back into the game later in the frame on a shot by team captain Brodie Dupont at 14:43 to cut the lead down to 2-1.
Then in the second period, the Admirals did their damage in a span of just 1:08, getting goals from three different scorers to take control of the game. First, Dupont notched his second of the contest at 6:32 before Thomas Frazee struck at 7:22 and Alex Pompeo capped off the outburst at 7:40. At the end of the period, South Carolina found themselves trailing 4-2.
Perrier got the Stingrays back to within one goal at 4-3 with his second goal in as many games and fourth of the season from Frankie Simonelli and Kelly Zajac at 11:15 of the third. The team’s second power play strike of the night, Zajac found Simonelli with a cross-ice pass through the zone and the defender put the puck on net where Perrier banged home a rebound in the crease.
The comeback wasn’t to be, however, as the Admirals scored an empty net goal to put the contest out of reach at 19:17 of the third. A late penalty for high sticking to Jordan Abt had South Carolina on the power play, but Dupont got the puck to Grant Besse in neutral ice and the rookie forward sent the puck into the open cage for Norfolk’s fifth goal of the night.
South Carolina outshot the Admirals 38-20 in the game, including a 16-5 edge in the third period while attempting a comeback. Reichenbach earned the win for the Admirals with 35 saves, while Adam Carlson got the start for the Stingrays and stopped 15 shots in a losing effort.
The Rays won the special teams battle, finishing 2-for-5 on the power play, while Norfolk was held off the board at 0-for-2.
South Carolina returns to action on Friday night when they host the Orlando Solar Bears at the North Charleston Coliseum. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.