The South Carolina Stingrays (45-16-6-1) fell behind early and couldn’t come back against the Jacksonville Icemen (26-36-4-3) on Saturday night at the Veterans Memorial Arena, falling by a final score of 4-1.
Kelly Zajac had the only goal for the Stingrays in the defeat, scoring his 21st tally of the year in the third period from Jake Kamrass.
Despite being called for five minor penalties in the first period, South Carolina was down by just one goal at the first intermission, trailing 1-0. The Rays were 4-for-4 on the penalty kill but were victimized by an even-strength tally from Josh Erickson at 10:00 of the opening frame.
The Icemen extended their advantage to 2-0 at 14:05 of the middle period on a shot by Matt Ustaski.
Zajac got SC closer with the only Rays’ goal of the game, wristing the puck past goaltender Austin Lotz at 4:20 of the third period to cut the Jacksonville lead to 2-1. Kamrass had the lone helper on the tally, his ninth point in his first eight professional games.
Everett Clark beat Stingrays’ netminder Parker Milner with a wrist shot at 10:00 of the third period to put the Icemen back up by two goals at 3-1.
Late in the contest, while on a power play, the Rays pulled Milner in favor of an extra attacker for a 6-on-4 advantage. South Carolina was unable to capitalize and Tanner Eberle found the empty net at 18:00 with the final strike of the game to give Jacksonville a 4-1 win.
The two teams totaled 69 penalty minutes in the contest, but neither side was able to score on the power play. Jacksonville finished 0-for-7 on the man-advantage, while the Stingrays were 0-for-6.
South Carolina returns home to face the Florida Everblades on Tuesday at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05 p.m.