After being overpowered in a 7-2 loss by the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday night in game one, the Stingrays came out ready to play in game two, picking up a 4-2 win to even the series at one apiece Sunday night at the Carolina Ice Palace. Hunter Shepard turned aside 20 shots to earn his seventh victory of the postseason.
The game would remain scoreless through the first period before forward Max Novak broke the tie on the power play with his fourth of the playoffs to give his team the early lead. Scored at the 2:30 mark, the goal was assisted by Cole Ully and Justin Florek. Fort Wayne would respond just 18 seconds later, with a goal from Anthony Nellis to knot the game up at one. On a rebound at the 2:48 mark, it was Nellis’ seventh goal of the postseason, which leads all forwards.
Less than four minutes later, the Rays would once again grab the lead, as Novak found forward Dan DeSalvo in the slot for a shot that beat Dylan Ferguson, which upped their lead to 2-1 just before the midway point. Ully would later do further damage, banking his fourth of the postseason, which would make it 3-1. Doing so with four minutes left, South Carolina took a two-goal advantage.
For the second time in the contest, the Komets would come back 18 seconds later, as Stephen Harper picked up the tally at the 16:40 mark, cutting the deficit to 3-2. Adding to their commanding lead, South Carolina answered back just 38 seconds later when Caleb Herbert scored off a rebound from a point shot by Tyler Nanne, which would make it 4-2 and secure the series-tying victory.
The final three goals were tallied with under a minute left in the playoff tilt, which set a new Riley/Kelly Cup Finals record for the fastest three goals by both teams.
Komets backstop Dylan Ferguson would fall short in net, stopping 26 shots in a losing effort. Overall, the Stingrays outshot the Komets by a 30-22 margin. the series now shifts to Fort Wayne for games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday night at the Memorial Coliseum, with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 and 8:00pmET respectively. Game 5, if necessary, will be Saturday night in Fort Wayne at 7:30pmET. As always, all games are available for viewing and can be streamed with subscriptions using FloSports online.