Stingrays fall in weekend finale at Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, FL – The Jacksonville Icemen (29-14-2-1) used two first period goals to take the lead in a 5-2 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays (16-26-5-0) on Sunday afternoon at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
Jacksonville drew first blood at the 10:51 mark of the first period thanks to Pavel Vorobei’s fourth tally of the season. The puck found its way to the point for Sean Giles, who wound a pass to Vorobei at the top of the left circle. Vorobei ripped a snapshot over Ryan Bednard’s right shoulder to make it 1-0.
Just under a minute later, the Icemen extended their lead on the powerplay. Ara Nazarian fed Jake Elmer on a no-look pass between the legs where Elmer one-timed the puck past a sliding netminder to double the lead for the Icemen 2-0.
Momentum began to sway in the Stingrays’ favor as Lawton Courtnall cut the deficit in half midway through the middle frame. Derek Gentile fired a bank pass off the half-wall by the benches and it was off to the races for Courtnall where he flipped the puck past Fraçois Brassard for his 10th mark of the year.
The Icemen re-gained their two-goal advantage as Jacksonville’s powerplay went to work again, doubling the lead with seven seconds left in the second stanza. Abbott Girduckis broke free from his defender and redirected a pass from Brendan Harris between the legs of Bednard for the 3-1 lead at the end of two periods.
Just over four and a half minutes into the final period of regulation, the Icemen expanded their lead on Elmer’s second goal of the game. Luke Lynch retrieved the puck for Jacksonville behind the Stingrays net and centered the puck to the slot, hitting Elmer in stride for the tap-in tuck.
South Carolina showed some resiliency less than a minute later for Courtnall’s second goal of the game. Jade Miller centered a pass for a late entry from Courtnall who fired a wrist shot that beat Brassard’s blocker.
Jacksonville would add an empty-netter to ice the game with twelve seconds remaining the third period from Derek Lodermeier to seal the deal.
The Stingrays are back on the ice Wednesday, February 23, as the team travels to Greenville, SC to take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena at 7:05 p.m.
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