Stingrays Withstand Everblades' Comeback to Win Series Finale
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Florida Everblades scored twice on the power play and received goals from four separate players but couldn't overcome a three-goal deficit in a 6-4 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays on Sunday afternoon.
In their final game of a four-game week, the Everblades (45-16-5-0, 95 pts.) scored three times total on special teams, including a shorthanded goal by Blake Winiecki, but saw their season-high eight-game winning streak come to an end.
Florida started the scoring in the series finale with another early goal. Again, it was Winiecki who provided a tally. After scoring twice on Saturday, Winiecki got a breakout feed from his own zone from Nathan Perkovich and raced out to a shorthanded breakaway. South Carolina netminder Parker Milner made the initial save, but Winiecki got back to his own rebound and punched it in 3:08 into the first.
South Carolina responded with four straight goals to take its first lead of the series. Patrick Megannety scored his first goal of the season off a feed from the corner from Grant Besse to tie the score at one with five minutes, 46 seconds left in the first. Mason Mitchell then redirected Ryker Killins' shot from the right circle past Florida goaltender Callum Booth (23 saves) at the 16:03 mark of the first to give the Stingrays a 2-1 edge.
The Stingrays tabbed two more goals in the second to push their lead to three. After assisting on the second goal, Killins scored on a backhand shot from just outside the crease only 1:38 into the second for South Carolina's third goal of the game. Jonathan Charbonneau notched his third point of the game with a goal at 11:51 of the middle frame to turn it into a 4-1 game.
But the 'Blades fought back with a pair of goals in a 2:11 span to close their gap to one before the end of the second. Defenseman Matt Finn scored Florida's first power-play goal with a blast from the top of the right circle with 6:31 left in the second to cut the Everblades' deficit to two. Shane Walsh then scored on a rebound at the side of the net to make it 4-3.
South Carolina struck for a goal in the first three minutes of the third, as Josh Gratton provided what proved to be the game-winning tally on a shot from the left-wing wall.
A South Carolina penalty with 2:44 left in the game presented an opportunity for the Everblades to mount a late comeback. Derek Sheppard scored from the left point on the ensuing power play to pull the game back within one with 1:17 left in regulation.
Florida then pulled Booth again for an extra attacker in the last minute, but Andrew Cherniwchan scored on the empty net with a second left to seal the Stingrays' win.
The Everblades play just one game this upcoming week, hosting the Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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