The South Carolina Stingrays (41-15-6-1) got their 1,000th victory in franchise history Wednesday night at the Amway Center after coming from behind in the third period against the Orlando Solar Bears (31-27-6-2) and winning 3-2 in a shootout with the final strike coming from Steven Whitney in the bottom of the third round for the second consecutive game.
South Carolina is just the second team in ECHL history to reach the 1,000 mark, joining the Wheeling Nailers who accomplished the feat during the 2016-17 season.
Whitney’s winner capped off a come-from-behind performance in which the Rays erased a 2-0 deficit in a 12-second span during the final period on goals by defenseman Paul Geiger and forward Jake Kamrass. Parker Milner got the start in net and won his 23rd game of the season, making 24 saves.
Orlando started out with a 1-0 advantage just 54 seconds into the game when Joe Perry put the puck by Milner on the team’s first shot of the contest.
SC responded and outshot the Solar Bears 7-5 in the first 20 minutes of the game, but the score went unchanged for the remainder of the first and second periods.
The Solar Bears pushed their lead to 2-0 at 6:46 of the third when J.J. Piccinich deflected a shot from the top of the zone by Nolan Valleau into the net.
But a 2-minute 4-on-4 situation with Orlando’s Sean Zimmerman and South Carolina’s Marcus Perrier in the penalty box gave the Rays the open ice they needed to get back in the game.
First, Kamrass got out to a 2-on-1 advantage and moved the puck past a sliding defenseman to Geiger, who finished the play for his ninth goal of the season to make it a 2-1 game at 9:15 of the third.
Then on the ensuing face-off, Patrick Megannety chipped the puck to Joey Leach who threw it at the net for a re-direct by Kamrass to tie the game at 2-2 just 12 seconds later at 9:27. The goal was the first in the pro career of Kamrass, and his third point in his third game with South Carolina.
The game stayed even at 2-2 for the remainder of regulation and an overtime period that saw Orlando put five shots toward Milner and the teams headed to a shootout.
It was the second shootout won in as many games by Whitney for the Rays, who defeated Atlanta earlier in the week on Monday night. Kelly Zajac had given SC a 1-0 lead in the first round before Martins Dzierkals tied the skills session at 1-1 in the second round. A save by Milner on Piccinich set the stage for another winner by Whitney in the bottom of the third.
Orlando’s Mackenzie Skapski turned aside 19 shots for the Solar Bears in a losing effort, as his team outshot SC 26-22 in the game.
Both squads came up empty on the power play in the contest with Orlando going 0-for-5 and South Carolina finishing 0-for-4.
The Stingrays and Solar Bears continue their three-game set at the Amway Center on Friday night at 7 p.m. South Carolina returns home to host the Kalamazoo Wings in the teams’ only matchup of the season on Tuesday night at 7:05.