The South Carolina Stingrays (3-0-1-0) came away victorious from their first shootout of the season, defeating the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (1-3-0-1) by a final score of 3-2 for their third straight win on Saturday night at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Stingrays forwards Dylan Steman and Mason Morelli scored goals in the win, while goaltender Hunter Shepard picked up his second victory of the year with 29 saves and four straight denials in the shootout.
Steman got the scoring started just 2:30 into the opening period and made it 1-0 with his second goal in as many games that came with assists from defenders Doyle Somerby and Tariq Hammond. The second-year forward fired a rebound at the net and the loose puck beat goaltender Ryan Bednard to give SC an early lead.
The Swamp Rabbits got even at 6:13 of the frame when Nick Poehling scored off a feed from his brother Jack to tie the game at 1-1.
In the second, Morelli put the Rays back in front 2-1 with an unassisted goal at 9:25, but Greenville evened things back up before the end of the frame when Sam Jardine scored at 17:20.
The two rivals continued their 2-2 deadlock all the way through the third period and overtime, but not without some close calls on both sides. South Carolina had chances to go back in front throughout the third when they outshot Greenville 11-5 and in overtime when they had a 10-5 shots-on-goal advantage.
Bednard, however, did not blink and kept his team in the game while standing tall. The Rays were unable to capitalize on a late penalty to Jardine for tripping that had SC on the power play during the final minute of regulation and the beginning moments of overtime. Then later on in the OT, Max Novak was tripped up while on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot, but the Swamp Rabbits’ netminder turned that aside as well to keep the game going.
Finally in the shootout forwards Andrew Cherniwchan and Dan DeSalvo found the back of the net, while Shepard turned away four different Greenville skaters to secure the win for SC.
Bednard finished with 35 saves in a losing effort for the Swamp Rabbits. The Stingrays led in shots-on-goal by a 38-31 margin the contest, while neither team converted on the power play, with Greenville finishing 0-for-4 and SC ending at 0-for-5.
You can see the box score here.
The two teams meet again in less than 24 hours as the Swamp Rabbits come to North Charleston for a 3:05 p.m. start on Sunday afternoon at the North Charleston Coliseum.
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