NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – Hunter Bishop scored twice to help lead the South Carolina Stingrays to a tight 3-2 victory over the Florida Everblades at the North Charleston Coliseum Wednesday evening.
South Carolina struck first nearly five minutes into the opening period. Scooter Vaughn carried the puck to the slot and wristed a shot that ripped past the glove of Everblades goaltender Pat Nagle for the goal. Vaughn’s second of the season gave the Stingrays a 1-0 lead after one period played.
In the first minutes of the second, South Carolina saw its lead grow. The Everblades had difficulty clearing the puck out of their own end. The Stingrays capitalized taking the puck away in the scramble, and sliding a cross-ice feed to Hunter Bishop on the right wing. Bishop fired a wrist shot past the glove of Nagle for the goal to extend the lead to 2-0.
Despite the deficit, Florida responded and grabbed a goal of its own halfway through the second. After firing a shot on goal which was stopped by Stingrays goaltender Jeff Jakaitis, Mathieu Roy tracked down his own rebound behind the net. Roy carried it back to the side of the net, and stuffed the puck between the shortside post and the skate of Jakaitis for the goal. Roy’s goal was his team best 19th of the season.
Florida tied the game shortly before the end of the second period. Dan Milan fired a shot from the point which was stopped by Jakaitis. The rebound hit off a Stingray defender in the front and deflected right to the stick of Brody Sutter on the right side of the crease. Sutter hurled the puck into the net past an outstretched Jakaitis for the tying goal. The two teams took a 2-2 score in to the second break.
Florida outworked South Carolina in the third, outshooting the Stingrays 17-5 in the final stanza of regulation. Jakaitis carried his team and turned aside everything the ‘Blades threw at him in the period.
The solid effort in net paid off, as Bishop netted the game winning tally at 16:34 of the period. A shot came from up high and banked off the back wall and back in front to Bishop who shoved the puck into the wide open net behind Nagle who was expecting the puck to still be behind the net. Bishop’s second tally of the game sealed the 3-2 win for the Stingrays who now pull within one point of the Everblades for third place in a tight South Division.
Jakaitis earns the win making 39 saves on 41 shots, while Nagle takes the loss allowing three goals on 22 shots faced.
The Everblades travel to Greenville for a Friday night affair with the Road Warriors. Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 96 K-Rock (96.1 FM), or online at www.floridaeverblades.com
The ‘Blades next home game is Tuesday, February 19 against Gwinnett. Fans can receive two club level tickets for the price of one simply by mentioning “Two for Tuesday” at the Capital Bank Box Office prior to the game.
Ticket Information: The Capital Bank Box Office is open Monday thru Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Fans may also call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, or order online atwww.ticketmaster.com
Group discounts are also available, and can save fans up $8 off per ticket from the normal box office price. For more information on all available packages, call the Everblades office at 239-948-7825.