Stingrays Beat Admirals 5-4, Will Play Kalamazoo to Open Playoffs
NORFOLK, VA - Four goals in the third period helped the South Carolina Stingrays end the regular season on a high-note. The Stingrays (44-18-7-3) topped the Norfolk Admirals (30-37-4-1) 5-4 on Saturday night at the Norfolk Scope in the regular season finale. The victory helped the Stingrays finish the regular season on a 16 game (12-0-3-1) unbeaten in regulation streak. The #2 Stingrays will open the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Quarterfinals next week versus the #7 Kalamazoo Wings. Game 1 will be Friday at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo at 7 p.m. A full series schedule will be released tomorrow by the ECHL.
South Carolina opened the scoring in the first period on a goal by Kelly Zajac at 13:36. Trevor Gillies moved the puck behind the net to Derek DeBlois. The forward centered a pass, and Zajac deflected his ninth goal of the season past the blocker of Norfolk netminder Nic Riopel.
The Admirals would score twice in the second period to take a 2-1 lead. Matt Cope would score his first professional goal at 2:26 to tie the game. Ryan Salkeld's shot was stopped by South Carolina's Mark Dekanich. The rebound popped off the stick of Dekanich and was batted into the net by Cope.
Greg Chase would score for the second straight night against South Carolina, striking on the power play for his 18th goal of the season at 9:51. A slap shot the from the point deflected off the far post, and the rebound popped right to Chase who beat a sprawled Dekanich.
The third period saw the two teams combine for six goals, including four from the Stingrays. Derek DeBlois scored on the power play just 24 seconds into the third period to tie the game, 2-2.
After Sam Noreau scored from the point to put the Admirals up 3-2 at 5:27, Joe Devin responded with his first of two goals, deflecting a Colton Saucerman shot past Riopel at 8:06 to make it 3-3.
Jared Staal would put the Stingrays in front, scoring from the left wing half-boards at 15:33 to make it 4-3 South Carolina. His 12th goal of the season beat Riopel over the glove through a cluster of players.
Devin would score an empty net goal at 19:32 to help seal the win for South Carolina. The Stingrays outshot the Admirals 32-25. Dekanich earned 20th win of the season with 21 saves.
South Carolina finished the regular season with 98 points and claimed the South Division Championship heading into the post-season.
The #2 Stingrays open the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs next week on the road versus the #7 Kalamazoo Wings. A complete schedule for the opening round will be tomorrow. It has already been announced the Stingrays will host Game 4 of the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at the North Charleston Coliseum on Thursday, April 21 at 7:05 p.m. The club will also host Games 5, 6 and 7, if necessary. Get more information HERE or call 843-744-2248.
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