Time to get you caught up on a crazy two-game series over the weekend between the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and South Carolina Stingrays.
Swamp Rabbits Take Game One In Overtime
On Friday January 15th, South Carolina played host to their upstate rival, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, for game one of a two-game weekend series at North Charleston Coliseum.
Greenville got things started just over five minutes into the opening period with a goal from Bryce Reddick that put the team up 1-0 with a pair of assists from Shawn Cameron and Matt Wedman. The Rabbits increased their lead later on in the period when Max Zimmer fired home a shot past Stingrays backstop Alex Dubeau. Shawn Cameron and Liam Pecararo were both rewarded with assists on the play.
South Carolina wouldn’t sit back though and would finally get one past Ryan Bednard with 44.8 seconds remaining in the frame. Mark Cooper picked up the goal and Connor Moore and Dylan Steman were rewarded the assists. Greenville would lead in shots 17-12 after 20 minutes.
Early on in the second, Greenville’s Luc Brown would strike on the power play, this regaining the two-goal lead for the Swamp Rabbits. Assists on play were credited to Jacob Hayhurst and Mike McNamee. Goals would be traded back and forth in the middle fame, and just 1:05 later, Stingrays forward Cameron Askew cut the lead back to one for his first of the season.
Greenville would once again strike on the power play in the period to take a 4-2 lead over the Stingrays. Greg Meireles picked up the goal with assists being credited to Samuel Jardine and Liam Pecararo. South Carolina would respond again in the final minute, as Dylan Steman put the puck in past Bednard with 8.1 seconds to cut the lead to 4-3. Right-winger Andrew Cherniwchan and Mason Morelli were credited with the assists.
Greenville led in shots, 25-22 after 40 minutes.
Going into the third period, things were quiet as the intensity built. South Carolina would ultimately capitalize on the intensity, as Darien Craighead scored his second of the season from Cameron Askew as well as Tariq Hammond. That would tie the game up at four with 12:36 left remaining on the clock.
Things remained deadlocked at four, as the Stingrays and Swamp Rabbits headed to overtime. During the extra frame, Greenville’s Matt Bradley put a puck in the empty net after goalie Alex Dubeau tried to come out of the crease and poke the puck away, sending it back down the ice. Despite the 5-4 loss, South Carolina outshot Greenville 34-29.
In the win, Ryan Bednard made 29 saves, while Alex Dubeau made 24 saves in the losing effort.
Stingrays Take Game Two In A Shootout
On Saturday January 16th, South Carolina played host to Greenville for the second of two games of a back-to-back weekend series.
Just 3:25 into the first, South Carolina broke open the scoring, as Darien Craighead scored his third of the season. Justin Florek and Max Gottlieb were both credited with assists on the play. Putting the Stingrays up early, Craighead’s goal extends his streak to three straight games with a goal.
Things remained quiet the rest of the period and South Carolina led after one in shots, 13-6.
In the second, the Swamp Rabbits would capitalize on a Caleb Herbert penalty late in the frame, as Liam Pecararo would take full advantage with a power play goal just 25 seconds in. Greenville would strike again on the power play, as forward Matt Wedman extended the lead to 2-1 with nine minutes left in the game’s second frame.
After a pair of close chances, Cameron Askew fired home his second of the season, a power play goal, in the final two minutes to tie the game at two apiece. Darien Craighead and Jesse Lees would both be credited with assists on the tally. After 40 minutes of play, the Stingrays led in shots, 24-17.
Heading into the final period, things started to get very chippy between the two rivals before Jordan Klimek broke the 2-2 tie with 6:28 left to play in the third. Justin Florek and Frédéric Létourneau picked up the assists, as the Stingrays lead went ahead 3-2 over Greenville.
South Carolina looked to have things wrapped up as game two of the series came right down to the wire. That of course before Matt Wedman scored his second of the season with just two minutes remaining. That would knot the game at three apiece.
In the final seconds of their second meeting, both teams saw a few chances, but ultimately, they headed to overtime for what would be the fifth time out of the last six meetings between the two. Despite chances on both ends, this carried on and into a shootout.
During the shootout, Stingrays forward Mason Morelli scored the only goal, as South Carolina bounced right back, securing the 4-3 victory. Alex Dubeau, who started for the second straight night, made 27 saves on the 30 shots he faced. Greenville’s John Lethemon made 41 saves on 40 shots in the loss.
After the game, head coach Ryan Blair spoke of his team’s performance following a heartbreaking loss. “I was really proud of our group, I thought we came out strong and played a full 60 minutes tonight, so I was really proud for our group.”
The Stingrays hit the road on Friday for a three-game series against the Wheeling Nailers. Puck drop at Wesbanco Arena is scheduled to fall at 7:10pmET. Puck drop will be the same time on Saturday, while the rubber match is scheduled for Sunday at 4:10pmET.