The South Carolina Stingrays (34-23-10-3) treated a season-high 7,375 fans to a 4-1 victory over the Jacksonville Icemen (33-30-3-4) to close out the regular season on Fan Appreciation Night Saturday at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Justin Florek led the way offensively with a goal and an assist, while goaltender Jake Kupsky turned aside 23 shots in an impressive performance between the pipes for South Carolina.
The Stingrays closed the regular season on a 6-game winning streak, their longest run of the year. SC will open the 2021 Kelly Cup Playoffs with Game 1 of a best-of-5 series on Monday night against the Florida Everblades at 7:05 p.m.
Forward Brett Supinski opened the scoring for the Rays just 3:37 into the contest, netting his 16th goal of the season from forward Caleb Herbert and Doyle Somerby to make it 1-0.
Less than a minute later, Jade Miller put SC up 2-0, scoring his second of the season from defender Chase Stewart and Florek at 4:25.
Florek extended the advantage to 3-0 with a second period tally at 9:16 of the middle frame from forward Tim Harrison and Zach Malatesta.
The Icemen secured their only goal of the night in the final minute of the period when Nick Saracino found the back of the net at 19:32 to cut the SC lead down to 3-1.
During the third period the Rays continued to hold off Jacksonville’s pursuit of a comeback and Kupsky made timely saves to deny any opportunities that came his way. Then in the final minute, Mark Cooper sealed the win with an empty-net goal at 19:50, his 12th strike of the season from Florek and defender Blake Hillman.
The Stingrays went the entire game without giving Jacksonville a power play and finished 0-for-1 on the man-advantage themselves. SC allowed only two shots to the Icemen in the first period and had an overall shots-on-goal lead of 29-24 in the game. Charles Williams got the start in net for Jacksonville and turned aside 25 shots in a losing effort.
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