Two first period goals were all the South Carolina Stingrays (44-15-6-1) needed to defeat the Kalamazoo Wings (32-28-4-2) on Tuesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum, skating off with their fifth straight win by a score of 2-1.
Reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Week Parker Milner was excellent in between the pipes again for the Stingrays, making 23 saves on the way to securing his 26th win of the season. Forwards Jake Kamrass and Kelly Zajac also had multi-point efforts in the victory, with Kamrass scoring a goal and an assist while Zajac registered two helpers.
With their 44th win of the 2017-18 regular season, the Stingrays cut their deficit to three points on the first-place Florida Everblades in the ECHL’s South Division standings with six games remaining.
South Carolina got themselves a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at 4:46 of the opening frame when Kamrass threw a puck in front of the Kalamazoo net that deflected off a skate of a Wings’ defender and past goaltender Joel Martin. Assists came from Zajac and defenseman J.C. Brassard on SC’s first goal of the evening.
Paul Geiger then made it 2-0 a few minutes later with his 11th goal of the year at 7:14 from Zajac and Kamrass. The defenseman, who has now scored in consecutive contests for the Rays, also had the puck go off his skate and into the Wings’ net to increase the advantage for SC.
The Rays had control of the game for most of the contest, outshooting Kalamazoo 10-4 in the first period and 13-6 in the second, but a last-chance effort got the Wings back in the contest late in the third frame.
Aaron Irving scored Kalamazoo’s only goal of the night to cut the lead to 2-1 with under two minutes remaining at 18:18.
South Carolina defended well in the final minute to keep the Wings off the board and preserve the victory. Martin also played well for Kalamazoo in the net at the other end of the ice, making multiple impressive saves to keep the contest within reach for the Wings and finished with 27 saves.
The Stingrays finished 1-for-2 on the power play while holding Kalamazoo to a 0-for-2 mark on the man-advantage.
SC heads back out on the road this weekend to Jacksonville for their final two meetings with the Icemen during the regular season. Friday’s game will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Arena.