NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The South Carolina Stingrays (15-13-6-2) scored the first three goals to get out to an early lead but were unable to hold off a comeback by the Orlando Solar Bears (20-13-3-1) Friday night, falling by a final score of 6-3 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
South Carolina tallies all came in the first period from forwards Brett Supinski, Justin Florek and Cam Askew, while goaltender Hunter Shepard made 37 saves in a losing effort.
Supinski swiped the puck free deep in the Solar Bears’ zone and let go of a quick wrist shot that beat goaltender Clint Windsor over the right shoulder to make it 1-0 Stingrays at 8:50 of the opening period. Supinski’s eighth goal of the year came unassisted.
Less than two minutes later, Florek cashed in on a rebound in front to make it 2-0 South Carolina with his seventh goal of the season. His tally came at 10:23 with assists by Dylan Steman and Andrew Cherniwchan.
Askew scored his fourth of the year off the rush on a wrist shot from the high slot that pushed SC’s advantage to 3-0. The play was started by defender Chase Stewart, who was credited with the lone assist on the play, his first as a member of the Stingrays.
But Orlando scored the next three goals to get themselves back in the game and tie up the score at 3-3 before the close of the second stanza. Kyle Topping put the Solar Bears on the board at 14:18 of the first, before J.J. Piccinich netted a goal at 1:30 of the second and Topping scored his second of the game on the power play at 12:49 of the middle frame.
Tristin Langan scored twice in a 4-minute span for Orlando in the third, giving the Solar Bears their first lead of the night at 4:29 before adding a tally to make it 5-3 at 8:29.
A late power play for SC with under five minutes to play in the game allowed the team to pull Shepard in favor of an extra attacker for a 6-on-4 advantage. The Stingrays were unable to solve Windsor in the final minutes and Orlando added on an empty net goal by Jerry D’Amigo to seal the game.
The Solar Bears went 1-for-3 on the power play while holding South Carolina off the board on the man-advantage at 0-for-5. Orlando also led in shots on goal, 43-34, while Windsor stopped 31 shots in net to earn the victory.