Paul Geiger’s first period goal stood up as the only tally of the night and Parker Milner stopped all 22 shots the Manchester Monarchs (28-16-3-1) sent to the net in a 1-0 victory for the South Carolina Stingrays at the SNHU Arena on Saturday night.
The shutout was Milner’s second of the season for the Stingrays as well as his 16th win of the year. The Pittsburgh, Pa. native’s 2.03 goals against average now ranks second in the ECHL through 22 appearances during the 2017-18 season.
South Carolina got the only goal of the night when Geiger crashed the net and redirected the puck home on a pass by Tim McGauley at 16:38 of the first. Steven Whitney started the play by finding space at the top of the offensive zone before moving it to the side of the net for McGauley, who found Geiger open in front for the defender’s sixth goal of the season.
Minutes after taking the lead, consecutive penalties got the Rays in trouble. Three infractions in less than a two-minute span, including a major penalty to Joey Leach, had the Stingrays down two men on the penalty kill for 1:48. South Carolina was able to discard the entirety of the ensuing Manchester power play which extended into the second but got plenty of help from Milner who was left to make multiple extremely difficult saves in the final 1:20 of the first period.
South Carolina led the shots on net count 12-5 during the second period, but neither team found the back of the net and SC continued to hold a 1-0 advantage into the third frame.
Milner was excellent once again in the third, turning aside all eight attempts by the Monarchs.
The Stingrays rank No. 1 in the ECHL in both defense and penalty kill, allowing just 2.25 goals per contest while successfully killing 91.5% of their opponents’ penalties this season. South Carolina has been even more efficient than usual on the penalty kill as of late, discarding 33 of their last 34 shorthanded situations that includes a 0-for-6 mark by Manchester in Saturday’s game.
Monarchs’ goaltender Charles Williams stopped 28 shots for Manchester in a losing effort as the Stingrays had the edge in shots on goal 29-22.
The Stingrays and Monarchs complete their weekend series on Sunday afternoon in Manchester at 3:00 p.m.
-per South Carolina Stingrays