Stingrays Complete Comeback Behind Cherniwchan’s Hat Trick
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – Andrew Cherniwchan netted his second hat trick of the season, leading the South Carolina Stingrays (11-18-3-0) to a 6-4 victory over the Norfolk Admirals (12-17-1-1) on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Norfolk’s top scorer, Alex Tonge, opened the scoring with his 13th goal of the year late in the first period. Tonge shed his defender and slid between the circles where he received a pass from Matt Carey, firing a shot over Ryan Bednard’s blocker for the 1-0 lead.
The Stingrays evened the score on their third power play of the night 33 seconds into the second stanza. Justin Florek cleaned up a loose rebound, sweeping the puck into the back of the net off the initial shot from Ben Holmstrom.
The Admirals finished off the final half of the second period with three goals beginning with Cody Milan’s seventh of the year. Milan found himself alone on the left circle, snapping a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Bednard to regain the one-goal lead.
Following a tussle between the two teams, the Stingrays came away with another power play, but the penalty kill of Norfolk was the story of the series. Carey and Aidan Brown tallied two shorthanded goals 42 seconds apart from one another on breakaways, creating a three-goal lead heading into the third period.
South Carolina stormed back with five unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes with Cherniwchan and newcomer Derek Gentile trading goals. The captain started the scoring 33 seconds into the third period, using patience to find the back of the net past Austin Lotz. Gentile added his first career goal at the 4:41 mark of the third frame firing home the tally from the left circle, cutting the deficit to one.
Cherniwchan tied the game midway through the period with a put-back goal off Florek’s initial shot. Gentile’s second of the game gave the Stingrays a lead with under two minutes remaining in regulation on a beautiful feed from Alex Brink.
Cherniwchan capped off the night with his second hat trick of the year and his team leading 14th mark of the season.
The Stingrays are back in action tomorrow against the Norfolk Admirals for Military Appreciation Night presented by Atlantic Bedding and Campers Inn RV. There will be an online jersey auction through Dash Auction benefitting Soldier’s Angels. Precise Logistical Services is the event sponsor for the evening. Puck drop is set for 6:05pm at the North Charleston Coliseum.
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