Stingrays fall in Florida, 4-3 on Saturday
ESTERO, FL – A power play goal a period wasn’t enough for the South Carolina Stingrays (16-25-5-0) on Saturday night as they fell to the Florida Everblades (26-15-4-4) by a final score of 4-3 at Hertz Arena.
The night’s first power play connected for the Stingrays just over three minutes into the opening stanza. Tariq Hammond swung a puck from right to left where Connor Moore was locked and ready to unload a one-timer past Tomás Vomácka for the 1-0 lead.
Florida evened the score as Jack McLaughlin fired a slapshot past Logan Flodell for the tie game a minute and a half into the second period. John McCarron won a faceoff back to McLaughlin, who fired a shot home for his fourth tally of the season.
Lawton Courtnall regained the lead for South Carolina with a second power play goal on their third attempt of the night. Moore threaded the needle for Shane Walsh, who made the cross-ice pass for Courtnall and beat Vomácka from the right circle.
The Everblades got a power play goal of their own from Stefan Leblanc with a wrist shot from just inside the blue line. Leblanc skated to his left off a feed from Levko Koper and sent a shot through traffic past a sliding Flodell to even the score at two apiece midway through the middle frame.
Thanks to an odd-man rush, Dylan Vander Esch gave the Everblades a lead for the second time in the last two games. Joe Pendenza forced a turnover and fed Vander Esch with an outlet pass, who raced towards the net and fired a wrist shot past the blocker of Flodell.
Vander Esch would add another six minutes into the final period of regulation. The forward found himself alone inside the right circle, where he swept home a shot past a recovering netminder.
Two minutes later, the Stingrays power play struck once again, coming off the stick of Justin Florek. Derek Gentile skated to the end line and fed Florek in front of the net, where the power forward tipped a puck over Vomácka’s shoulder to cut the deficit back to one, but the Rays couldn’t complete the comeback.
The Stingrays finish off a three-in-three weekend tomorrow, February 20th, at 3:00 p.m. in Jacksonville, Fla. against the Jacksonville Icemen at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
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