Steven Whitney did it all for the South Carolina Stingrays (40-15-6-1) in a 3-2 shootout win over the Atlanta Gladiators (29-32-2-3) on Monday night, scoring a goal, assist and the game-winner in the skill session at the Infinite Energy Center.
Parker Milner made 24 saves to earn his 22nd victory of the season for the Stingrays, while Joey Leach scored the game-tying goal in the third period and Jake Kamrass earned his first professional point with an assist in the first frame.
The win was the 40th of the season for South Carolina, which matches their regular season total from the 2016-17 regular season.
Whitney put the Stingrays in front 1-0 with the only goal of the opening frame at 16:22 of the first period, his 18th of the season. Kamrass found the Reading, Mass. native wide open in front of the Glads’ net and Whitney waited out goaltender Dan Vladar before wristing the puck to the upper part of the net for the strike.
Kamrass, an Atlanta native, recorded his first pro point in just his second game with the Rays.
Atlanta flipped the script on South Carolina in the second period, scoring twice to take a 2-1 advantage. Taylor Stefishen found the back of the net on a redirect in front at 12:17 to tie things up before Derek Nesbitt gave the Gladiators the lead with a power play goal at 14:01.
But the Stingrays evened the game at 2-2 when Whitney hit Leach with a pass on a rush into the Atlanta zone and the defender beat Vladar with a wrister to the bottom right side of the net at 9:39 of the third. Joe Devin, who started the rush by blocking a shot in his own end, was credited for the second assist on the play.
Neither team could score late in the third frame and the two squads headed to overtime. South Carolina had a 3-2 edge in shots on goal during the extra session but once again the goaltenders were up to the task and things had to be decided in a shootout.
After the first five shooters were held without a goal, Whitney beat Vladar by moving in slowly and putting the puck up high over the netminder’s glove to secure a win for the Stingrays.
Vladar made 33 saves in a losing effort for the Gladiators, while Atlanta got the better of the special teams battle at 1-for-4 on the power play while SC went 0-for-4 on the man-advantage.
The Stingrays continue their four-game road swing by traveling to Orlando for three straight games against the Solar Bears beginning Wednesday night at 7 p.m. South Carolina returns home to host the Kalamazoo Wings in the teams’ only matchup of the season on Mar. 27 at 7:05 p.m.