On Saturday night, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits played host to the Stingrays for a crucial game three with the series tied at one apiece. South Carolina would come out victorious with a 3-2 comeback win behind shutdown goaltending and a little luck on their side.
Despite a very fast-paced first period full of chances for both sides, the score remained 0-0 after the opening 20 minutes. Greenville would strike first in the second period when forward Liam Pecararo beat Hunter Shepard to give them a 1-0 lead. The play was reviewed for possible goaltender interference, however, was upheld after video review. The Swamp Rabbits would extend their lead in the middle of the frame with a goal from Max Zimmer before the buzzer sounded on 40 minutes of play.
Heading into the final period, forward Justin Florek broke Ryan Bednard’s shutout, deflecting a shot on the power play by Max Novak to cut Greenville’s lead in half at the 9:28 mark. South Carolina wouldn’t go down quietly though after a single goal, ultimately tying the game when forward Matthew Weis banked home a rebound to even the contest at a score of two apiece.
With just seconds remaining in the third, the Stingrays decided to avoid overtime and cap the comeback off, while sending their fans who made the trip to the upstate home happy. A shot from the point from defensemen Zach Malatesta deflected off Dan DeSalvo’s neck, sailing up into the air before settling in the mesh behind Ryan Bednard. That made it 3-2 with 19 seconds left, handing the Stingrays the victory.
Speaking of his game-winning goal, forward Dan DeSalvo said to the media postgame, ““A little bit lucky, I’m not sure I saw anything to be honest. Just won the faceoff, went to the net. Saw the puck was coming at my head a little bit. Coop (Mark Cooper) kind of tipped it off, I turned my head, it went off my neck and in….. Lucky bounce but we will take it.”
Ryan Bednard took the loss for Greenville, stopping 31 shots in the 3-2 defeat. Hunter Shepard made 32 saves in a winning effort for South Carolina. With the win, the Stingrays are now ahead two games to one in the best-of-five series and one win away from clinching a birth in the Kelly Cup Final. Game 4 is set to take place on Monday at the Carolina Ice Palace in North Charleston, SC. Puck drop between the two clubs is slated to drop at 7:05pmET. All games are available for viewing and can be streamed with subscriptions using FloSports online.