NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - Hunter Fejes scored a shorthanded goal in the second period that stood up for the Orlando Solar Bears, who used 36 saves from goaltender Cal Heeter to defeat the South Carolina Stingrays 2-0 in Game 1 of the South Division Semifinals Thursday night at the North Charleston Coliseum to take a 1-0 series lead.
Stingrays' goaltender Parker Milner, who was named the ECHL's Goaltender of the Year earlier in the day, made 20 saves in the loss while his team outshot the Solar Bears 36-20 in the contest.
Neither team was able to score in the opening period, despite another lopsided shot total in favor of the Rays at 12-5.
Fejes struck in the second for Orlando, notching an unassisted goal while his team was shorthanded at 7:47 of the middle frame.
South Carolina again had the upper hand in shots during the second, out-shooting the Solar Bears, 17-8.
The Stingrays were unable to rebound in the third and continued to be held at bay by Heeter before rookie J.J. Piccinich scored an empty net goal at 19:07 of the final frame to seal the game for Orlando.
Although South Carolina held the Solar Bears off the board on their power play (0-for-4), the Rays also came up short on the man-advantage, finishing 0-for-6 in the game.
Game 2 of the series will also take place at the North Charleston Coliseum on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.