NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – Parker Milner stopped 26 shots to earn his second shutout of the series for the South Carolina Stingrays and move his team on to the second round of the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Playoffs, defeating the Greenville Swamp Rabbits 4-0 on Monday night to win the series four games to two.
10 skaters were on the scoresheet with points for the Stingrays in the win, including John Parker, who scored his third goal in as many games, as well as Patrick Gaul, who put the game out of reach late in the second period.
Derek Arnold opened the scoring for South Carolina with a power play goal from Joe Devin and Kelly Zajac at 12:20 of the first period. South Carolina outshot Greenville 19-4 in the opening frame and took the 1-0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes.
Devin and Zajac earned at least a point in all six games during the first round series, both totaling seven points. Devin finished the series with two goals and five assists, while Zajac had three goals and four assists.
Parker extended the lead to 2-0 at 14:15 of the middle period while South Carolina was killing a penalty to Wade Epp. The rookie forward got the puck from Joey Leach at his own blue line and raced in alone on a breakaway to beat Greenville goaltender Jeff Malcolm with a wrist shot blocker side for the short-handed goal.
Gaul made it 3-0 later on in the frame with his third goal of the series on a two-on-one with Steven McParland at 18:01. Epp was credited with the second assist on the goal, which gave him five points in the series.
Milner stole the show in the third period for the Stingrays, making 14 saves in the final 20 minutes to keep the Swamp Rabbits off the board and end any chance at a comeback. In the final four games of the series, Milner allowed just three goals on 118 shots (.975 save percentage and a .75 goals against average.)
Rob Flick sealed the victory, scoring an empty net goal for his sixth tally of the series at 19:02 with an assist to Domenic Monardo.
South Carolina’s penalty kill stole the show once again, holding Greenville scoreless at 0-for-5 in the game. The Stingrays finished the series killing off 31 of 33 chances (93.9%) on the man-advantage for the Swamp Rabbits.
The power play also got on the board for South Carolina and finished the game 1-for-4. Malcolm finished the contest with 28 saves for Greenville.
South Carolina will play the winner of the first round series between the Florida Everblades and the Orlando Solar Bears in a best-of-seven matchup.