Courtnall’s Hat Trick Leads Stingrays in 10-Goal Rout of Gladiators

Published: Mar. 4, 2023 at 12:41 AM EST
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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – Lawton Courtnall netted his first career hat trick as the South Carolina Stingrays (31-16-4-1) routed the Atlanta Gladiators (28-22-5-1) by a final score of 10-1 on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.

South Carolina got off to a hot start as the power play converted their first chance of the night for the 1-0 lead. Josh Wilkins received a pass on the left circle and slid a shot past a diving Alex Sakellaropoulos for the advantage only 4:49 into the opening stanza.

Courtnall doubled the lead 22 seconds later, snapping a shot past the blocker of Sakellaropoulos for the 2-0 advantage. Jackson Leppard and Tarek Baker used a give-and-go to gain the zone before feeding Courtnall for the finish.

Midway through the opening frame, Matt Anderson took a hit that lit a fire inside the Stingrays. South Carolina went on to net four goals in the final 8:17 of the first period beginning with Wilkins’ second of the game and 17th of the season. Wilkins took a shot from the right circle that beat the Atlanta netminder for the 3-0 advantage.

Tarek Baker added a fourth goal of the match 32 seconds later with his 7th tuck of the season. Baker wristed a shot from the right faceoff dot that deflected off the glove of Sakellaropoulos and into the back of the net for the 4-0 lead.

While on the penalty kill, Andrew Cherniwchan netted his ninth goal of the year for the five-goal lead. Bear Hughes carried the puck across the line, dropped it for Cherniwchan, and set a pick where the Stingrays’ captain sent a shot past Sakellaropoulos for the 5-0 advantage.

Justin Florek finished the scoring in the first period, netting his 13th goal of the year with 2:06 remaining. While on the man advantage, Florek flung a shot past the Atlanta netminder for the 6-0 lead.

David Tendeck relieved Sakellaropoulos to start the second period and received some offensive help from Michal Mrazik just under four minutes into the frame. Mrazik swept a shot off a faceoff win between the legs of Clay Stevenson for the only Gladiators’ goal of the night.

Anthony Del Gaizo responded with 5:09 left in the second frame as he regained the Stingrays’ six-goal advantage. Del Gaizo redirected a shot from Wilkins on the power play that split the legs of Tendeck for the 7-1 lead.

South Carolina added three more in the third period beginning with Courtnall’s second of the match at the 1:58 mark of the frame. Wilkins picked off an Atlanta pass and fed Courtnall who went bar-down for the 8-1 lead.

Wilkins led another rush less than six minutes later as he snapped a shot into the glove of Tendeck who laid it back in front for Florek to clean up. Florek’s second of the night increased the Stingrays’ lead to eight goals.

Courtnall completed the scoring for the night, netting his first career hat trick with 4:49 left in regulation. Alex Fortin centered a pass where Courtnall redirected it past Tendeck for the 10-1 lead and his third goal of the contest.

The Stingrays return to the North Charleston Coliseum tomorrow, March 4th, to host the Atlanta Gladiators for the final time this regular season at 6:05 p.m. Join the Stingrays as they honor the brave men and women who serve their community on First Responders Night presented by ServiceMASTER Restore. Specialty First Responder-inspired jerseys and ties will be available for auction throughout the game with proceeds benefitting local first responder organizations.