NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - Goaltender Parker Milner earned his 21st win and third shutout of the season in front of 6,878 fans on Pink In The Rink Night as he and the South Carolina Stingrays (38-13-6-1) blanked the Atlanta Gladiators (28-31-1-2) by a score of 5-0 Saturday at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Nick Roberto had two goals, while Danny Federico, Joey Leach and Taylor Cammarata all picked up two assists for the Stingrays in the victory. Milner saved 31 Atlanta shots in the game and lowered his ECHL league-leading goals-against average to 1.94 on the season.
South Carolina got out to a lead when captain Joe Devin recorded his team-leading 18th goal of the season at 5:47 of the opening frame after a perfect cross-ice feed by Leach. Forward Patrick Gaul had the second assist on the first strike of the game that made it 1-0.
Devin's tally held up as the only goal of the game until the third period when the Rays took things to another level and gained control of the contest. First, Steven Whitney extended the lead with an insurance goal on the power play at 2:28 of the final frame. The Reading, Mass. native's 16th of the season came on a rebound in front after an initial shot by defender Kris Bindulis. Mike Chen also recorded his first ECHL assist on the strike that upped the advantage to 2-0.
With the power play marker, South Carolina has now scored a man-advantage goal in six consecutive games, their longest such streak of the season.
Roberto made it 3-0 with a short-handed breakaway goal at 9:34 that he was able to score while being tripped on the play. Assists on his third SHG of the year came from Federico and Leach.
The Wakefield, Mass. native then struck again for his sixth tally of the season at 11:56 after a perfect pass by Cammarata, who left it on the doorstep for Roberto to bury. The second assist on the rookie's second goal of the night was credited to defenseman Evan Neugold, his first point as a member of the Stingrays.
Rookie forward Tad Kozun capped off the scoring for South Carolina at 14:56 of the third, scoring his first professional goal from Cammarata and Federico to extend the lead to 5-0.
While the shots were even most of the game, the Stingrays had a 14-7 edge in chances on net during the third period and finished with 36 shots toward Atlanta's cage while the Glads had 31. Sean Bonar played all but the last six minutes of the contest, making 29 saves before being lifted in favor of former Ray Carmine Guerriero. The rookie who spent the early part of the season with SC stopped the only two shots that came his way late in the game.
South Carolina was 1-for-5 on the power play, while Atlanta finished 0-for-3.
The Stingrays complete three home games in three days on Sunday afternoon when they host the Jacksonville Icemen at 3:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum.
-per South Carolina Stingrays