Stingrays drop Friday night battle in Florida
ESTERO, FL – Despite a late push, the South Carolina Stingrays (23-10-3-1) fell to the Florida Everblades (25-9-3-2) by a final score of 4-3 on Friday night at Hertz Arena.
Florida jumped out to a 1-0 lead midway through the opening stanza on Kobe Roth’s 10th tally of the season. Roth broke behind the South Carolina defense and slid above the crease before shoveling a shot past the glove of Tyler Wall for the early advantage.
The Everblades doubled their lead just over three minutes later on Xavier Cormier’s sixth marker of the year. Cormier forced an offensive turnover and snapped a quick shot past Wall for the 2-0 lead to close out the first period.
Converting at a league-best 26.5% of power plays this season, the Stingrays netted their first goal of the night on the man advantage. Josh Wilkins set up in front of the net and redirected a pass from Carter Turnbull past Evan Fitzpatrick to pull the Stingrays back within one goal.
The Florida power play netted one of their own on Jake Smith’s team-leading 17th goal of the year. Smith received a backdoor pass from Joe Pendenza and fired a one-timer into the back of the net for the 3-1 lead with 2:43 remaining in the second period.
Justin Florek cut the deficit in half a minute later while on the power play, redirecting a shot from Turnbull past Fitzpatrick for the 3-2 contest to close out the middle frame.
Zach Uens netted the eventual game-winning goal seven minutes into the third period during four-on-four action. Uens stepped into the slot and pinpointed his first career ECHL goal into the back of the net for the 4-2 lead.
The Stingrays fought back on a late goal from Benton Maass with 3:27 remaining in regulation. After a couple of saves, Maass lifted his third tally of the year over the glove of Fitzpatrick for the 4-3 game.
Fitzpatrick and the Everblades closed out the Stingrays’ six-on-three power play to ice the contest and expand their lead in the South Division.
The Stingrays return to action tomorrow, January 28th for the final game of the week against the Florida Everblades. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at Hertz Arena in Estero, FL.
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