Mason Mitchell led the way with two goals for the South Carolina Stingrays (46-16-7-1) in a 5-2 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (23-39-7-1) on Thursday night at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Forward Dylan Margonari and defenseman Paul Geiger each picked up two assists on the goal by Mitchell, while goaltender Parker Milner earned his 27th win of the year by stopping 18 shots in the victory.
The Stingrays took the lead early on Mitchell’s third goal in his fourth ECHL game, scoring at 2:38 of the opening frame after picking up a rebound on a shot by Margonari and beating goaltender Chris Nell with an attempt to the top right corner of the net over the glove. The second assist on the play was credited to Geiger for his 20th of the season.
Joe Devin extended the lead to 2-0 for South Carolina by scoring during a power play opportunity at 14:13 of the second. The captain got his 20th goal of the season unassisted by taking a loose puck in the slot and blasting a shot through the legs of Nell.
Just 1:04 later, defenseman Andrew DeBrincat, who was signed earlier in the day by South Carolina, scored his first professional goal to make it 3-0 Stingrays. Kelly Zajac recorded the only assist on the goal that was scored at 15:17 of the second period.
The Swamp Rabbits cut the score to 3-1 before the end of the second on a goal by forward Caleb Herbert at 16:27.
In the third, South Carolina regained their three goal advantage at 4-1 on Mitchell’s second of the night once again from Margonari and Geiger at 8:41. The team’s second power play tally came on a rebound for Mitchell, who fought through a few defenders at the front of the net and slipped the puck into the cage for his fourth in just four games with the Rays.
Herbert struck again for Greenville at 10:07, making it 4-2 with his second goal of the night.
But the Swamp Rabbits couldn’t get any closer and Tommy Hughes put the game out of reach by scoring a short-handed empty net goal from his own zone at 18:54 of the third to seal the victory. The third goal this season for Hughes came unassisted.
Nell took the loss for the Swamp Rabbits in the contest, making 30 saves. The Stingrays went 2-for-4 on the power play while holding Greenville to an 0-for-3 mark on the man-advantage.
The two teams match up for the final time during the 2017-18 season in Greenville on Friday night at 7 p.m. South Carolina will then close their regular season against Orlando on Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05.