The South Carolina Stingrays (29-11-4-1) prevailed in a close, low-scoring contest Saturday night, defeating the Jacksonville Icemen (15-26-3-2) 2-1 in a shootout at the Veterans Memorial Arena.
Marcus Perrier scored the only goal for the Rays in regulation, while Steven Whitney had the game-winner in the skills session and goaltender Jeff Jakaitis stopped 30 shots to pick up his 13th win of the year.
It was the fourth win of the season against Jacksonville for South Carolina and their second shootout win of the season. SC strengthened their grip on second place in the ECHL’s South Division and now has 63 points in the standings.
Both teams were held scoreless in the first 20 minutes, with Jacksonville outshooting South Carolina 11-6 in the opening period.
The Icemen took the lead in the first minute of the second period on a goal by Dajon Mingo just 47 seconds into the middle frame to make it 1-0.
South Carolina responded later in the frame on the power play to tie things up at 1-1 when Dylan Margonari shot the puck on net from the left side of the zone. An initial save was made by goaltender Colton Phinney, but the rebound pinballed off Perrier’s skate for the forward’s fifth goal of the season at 15:39. A second assist on the equalizer was also given to Whitney.
The squads stayed even at 1-1 for the remainder of the game, with both unable to score in the third period with four shots on goal each in the final frame.
Tim McGauley and Taylor Cammarata scored for the Stingrays in the first two rounds in the shootout and Joe Devin came inches away from winning the game in the third round but hit the crossbar with his shot. Whitney came through with the winner in the fourth round by cutting back in front of the net to his backhand for a quick release shot.
Jacksonville outshot South Carolina 31-23 in the game but only had the advantage in the first two periods as the teams were even in shots during both the third period and overtime. The Rays scored their only goal on the power play, going 1-for-4 on the man-advantage while holding the Icemen to a mark of 0-for-4. Phinney stopped 21 shots for Jacksonville in a losing effort.
The Stingrays resume their schedule on Friday night in Worcester with their first-ever meeting against the Railers at 7:05 p.m. at the DCU Center.
-per South Carolina Stingrays