NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - Zach O’Brien’s wrist shot 59 seconds into overtime gave the Newfoundland Growlers (26-18-4-0) a 3-2 win over the South Carolina Stingrays (25-18-5-0) on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Forwards Patrick Gaul and Tad Kozun scored in the loss for the Stingrays, who picked up one point and continue to hold second place in the ECHL’s South Division with 55 points on the season. Goaltender Parker Milner made his eighth straight start for South Carolina and turned aside 34 saves to keep his team in the contest before allowing the overtime winner.
Gaul got the scoring started at 9:19 of the first period when he grabbed his own rebound off a shot from the high slot and put it into the net for his eighth tally of the season. Assists on the play to make it 1-0 Rays, went to defenseman Mike Chen, who dropped the puck off to Gaul, as well as forward Josh Gratton.
Brady Ferguson tied the game for Newfoundland at 15:42 of the first, evening the game at 1-1 with a drive to the front of the Stingrays net.
Then at the start of the second, just after an SC power play opportunity had expired, Tad Kozun scored his 13th goal of the year to re-take the lead for the home team at 1:14 of the middle period. Forward Christian Horn found Kozun wide open at the top of the Growlers’ crease for the strike, which also had a second assist from forward Matt Pohlkamp.
Newfoundland defenseman James Melindy made it 2-2 for the Growlers at 3:40 of the second with his third goal of the year.
The teams stayed even at two goals apiece for the remainder of the second and third periods and the contest headed into overtime where O’Brien ended things with his 20th goal of the season.
Growlers’ goaltender Michael Garteig earned the win with 28 saves in the team’s victory as Newfoundland had the edge in shots on goal, 37-30. Both clubs came up empty on the power play and finished 0-for-3 on the man-advantage.