Stingrays skate past Solar Bears in overtime
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – For the third time in four games, the South Carolina Stingrays (5-5-2-0) went to overtime, and this time, they picked up their first home victory of the season in a 4-3 win over the Orlando Solar Bears (6-5-1-1). Kevin O’Neil scored the game-winning goal 20 seconds into overtime. Garin Bjorklund stopped 23 of 26 shots in the win.
The Stingrays started strong and opened the scoring 2:53 into the game when Jackson Leppard tallied his first goal of the season. Leppard collected a centering pass from Jack Adams and fired a shot past Orlando goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick to put the Stingrays up 1-0. Each team had nine shots in the opening 20 minutes.
The Stingrays doubled their lead when Ryan Leibold registered his first point of the year. Leibold streaked up the left side and fired a shot that hit the end boards. He followed up his shot and jammed in a wrap-around to make it a 2-0 game.
Orlando clawed back and tallied three unanswered goals.
Mitchell Hoelscher cut the deficit in half when he beat Bjorklund with a one-timer from the right circle. Steven Jandric tied the game 30 seconds into the third period when he drove up the left wing, cut to the net, and slid a backhand past Bjorklund. Patrick Newell put the Solar Bears in front three minutes later when he accepted a cross-ice feed from Jandric and swept a wrist shot over the right pad of Bjorklund.
Tyson Empey buried the equalizer 9:29 into the third period. Austin Magera won a battle behind the net and got the puck to O’Neil. O’Neil fed it to the slot for Empey, who knocked home his fifth goal of the season to tie the game at three.
Orlando had a power-play opportunity with 4:20 to go in the game, but the Stingrays killed off the penalty thanks to solid goaltending by Bjorklund and big blocks by Garet Hunt and Jon McDonald.
O’Neil showcased his speed on the overtime winner. He charged up the left side, muscled his way to the net, and roofed the puck over the glove of Fitzpatrick. The goal was O’Neil’s team-leading thirteenth point of the season.
The Stingrays are back in action on Wednesday in Jacksonville. They will take on the Icemen at 7:00 pm.
2023-24 Single Game tickets are on sale! Tickets to all remaining regular season home games are available at the following link.
Save money with group tickets! For more information or to purchase, contact the Stingrays by phone at 843-744-2248.
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