A pair of second period goals from Alex Kile were too much for the South Carolina Stingrays (12-11-6-2) to overcome as the Florida Everblades secured a 4-2 decision on home ice at Hertz Arena on Wednesday night.
Forwards Andrew Cherniwchan and Max Novak picked up goals for the Stingrays in a losing effort, while goaltender Hunter Shepard turned out 27 Florida shots in his eighth start of the season.
Everblades’ netminder Jake Hildebrand made 33 saves to secure the victory, including 13 in the third period to keep Florida ahead by a two-goal margin.
Cherniwchan started the scoring for SC with an unassisted shorthanded goal at 7:22 of the opening period to make it 1-0, his fifth tally of the season.
The Rays’ lead did not last long as Florida’s Myles Powell tied things up at 1-1 just 42 seconds later at 8:04 of the first frame.
John McCarron put the Everblades in front for the first time by a score of 2-1 with his team-leading 15th goal at 14:39 of the period.
Novak responded quickly for the Stingrays, however, netting his third goal of the season from defender Max Gottlieb and forward Caleb Herbert at 15:06 to even things back up at 2-2.
Florida regained the lead back in the second on back-to-back goals by Kile at 4:35 and 11:57. The Everblades held a 4-2 advantage when the teams returned to the locker room for the second intermission.
South Carolina was unable to get any closer in the third, despite outshooting Florida 13-6 in the final stanza. The Rays had two separate 5-on-3 power play opportunities in the first six minutes of the frame, but Hildebrand turned out all chances to keep his team in front by two goals.
Each team was unable to score on the man-advantage in the contest, with Florida going 0-for-3, while SC finished 0-for-5. The Stingrays outshot the Everblades 35-31 overall in the game.
South Carolina and Florida are set for a rematch in Estero on Friday night at Hertz Arena at 7:30 p.m.
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