NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The South Carolina Stingrays (30-30-5-1) scored four times in the second half of the first period to get out in front and skated to a 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Mavericks (32-25-3-2) Tuesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Forwards Jordan Samuels-Thomas was named the first star after scoring a goal and an assist while putting eight shots on net and forward Tim Harrison also chipped in with three assists. The Rays outshot Kansas City 44-33 in the game and goaltender Parker Milner earned the victory in between the pipes, turning aside 31 shots that came his way.
The Mavericks got on the board early and took the lead right away when Rocco Carzo scored 27 seconds into the contest to make it 1-0. But the Stingrays had the last laugh in the frame, breaking through later in the period.
Steve Johnson evened things up at 1-1 in the second half of the stanza at 12:18 from Joey Leach and Harrison. The blueliner got the puck on the right point and put a shot through traffic that got by Mason McDonald and into the net for his seventh goal of the season and second with SC.
Samuels-Thomas, who had a monster first period with six shots on goal, gave the Rays the lead for the first time with a goal during a 2-on-1 rush at 15:30. The attacker was able to use a quick, low wrist shot to beat McDonald and make it 2-1. Assists on the goal once again went to Leach and Harrison.
In the final minute of the opening period, South Carolina added on two more tallies to open the score up to 4-1. First, defenseman Miles Liberati kept a loose puck in on the blue line and walked around a diving defender before wristing a shot to the top left corner of the net. Harrison and Josh Gratton figured in on the assists for the goal.
Then with just three seconds left in the frame, Andrew Cherniwchan netted his 27th goal of the season from Mason Mitchell and Samuels-Thomas. Samuels-Thomas had the puck and the side of the net and left it out in the slot where Cherniwchan grabbed it and picked out the top left corner of the net with a backhand shot over McDonald’s blocker.
The Stingrays held on to that three-goal advantage until late in the third period when Joey Sides scored for Kansas City at 15:51.
But the Mavericks were unable to get any closer in the final minutes and South Carolina held on for the victory.
McDonald made 40 total saves in a losing effort for the Mavericks, who scored the only power play goal of the night and finished 1-for-4 on the man-advantage. SC ended at 0-for-5 on the power play.
South Carolina is now two points ahead of the Atlanta Gladiators for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division with a total of 66 points in the standings.