NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – The South Carolina Stingrays put up six goals for the second consecutive night to defeat the Greenville Swamp Rabbits 6-1 and even the teams’ first round best-of-seven series at 2-2 on Tuesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Kelly Zajac scored in both the second and third periods for South Carolina, while goaltender Parker Milner was in the zone for the second straight game, making 36 saves. Defenseman Steve Weinstein also added two assists for the Stingrays in the victory.
Alternate captain Patrick Gaul got the Rays on the board first with a power-play goal at 3:45 of the opening period from forwards Rob Flick and Olivier Archambault. Gaul knocked in a rebound from the side of the cage while down on his knees for his second goal of the postseason to make it 1-0.
Minutes later, Wade Epp scored an unassisted goal off a wrist shot that got past the glove of Greenville goaltender Mackenzie Skapski to make it 2-0 Stingrays at 6:47 of the first.
Neither team found the back of the net for most of the second period but Zajac gave the Rays some insurance with a power-play goal from Joe Devin and Derek Arnold at 17:18 to extend the lead to 3-0 before the teams headed to the third.
South Carolina then scored three times in the final period to once again take over the contest and not allow the Swamp Rabbits any chance of a comeback.
John Parker got things started just 1:31 into the third frame with his first goal of the postseason off a rush from Steven McParland and Weinstein to put the Stingrays in front 4-0.
Greenville scored their only goal of the game at 7:37 of the third on a shot from the slot by Joe Houk and got on the board at 4-1.
But Zajac took the momentum right back for South Carolina with an impressive deflection off a pass by Max Nicastro that went from the side of the net to the top shelf for his second goal of the night and third of the postseason. Weinstein had the second assist on the team’s fifth goal of the evening.
Rob Flick put a cap on the win with his fourth goal of the series at 18:02 of the third, icing the game with a rebound shot from Domenic Monardo and Andrew Cherniwchan.
The Stingrays were 2-for-6 on the power play, while holding Greenville scoreless in five man-advantage opportunities. The Swamp Rabbits had the edge in shots on goal for the first time in the series at 37-35. Skapski made 29 saves and took the loss for Greenville.
The series now shifts back to Greenville for Game 5 on Friday night at 7 p.m. the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.