Wheeling, WV- Throughout the playoffs and early in this series it was the Nailers who were the comeback kids. For the second consecutive game though, it would be the Stingrays that overcame a lead and used a third period rally to take command of the series.
Wheeling took control of the game early pinning the Stingrays in to the zone and forcing Vitek Vanecek to stop the game’s first five shots. South Carolina got a five-on-three opportunity but were unable to score.
Marcus Perrier was called for slashing at the 10:51 mark to put South Carolina on the penalty kill. Twenty seconds would all it would take for Cody Wydo to tip a point shot from Matthew Maione past Vanecek to give the Nailers a 1-0. lead. It was the first time all series that Wheeling has scored the first goal of the game.
The Stingrays would have to kill off two more penalties before receiving another powerplay midway through the second. The man advantage for South Carolina has been snakebitten seemingly all series got just the boost it needed when Kelly Zajac won a faceoff back to Colton Saucerman who stepped in and fired a shot past goaltender Brian Foster tying the game at one.
The goal gave the Stingrays new life and they outshot the Nailers 13-8 to finish the second period. The third period saw South Carolina play like the team that had gotten them this far in the playoffs. The Stingrays hemmed Wheeling in their own zone for long stretches by forcing turnovers. They got better and better as the period wore on and the hard work eventually paid off. Austin Fyten threw a puck toward Foster and David Pacan was right there to pounce on the rebound and give his time the huge 2-1 lead with 7:17 left to play in regulation.
Stephan Vigier sealed the deal with an empty net goal with just over a minute left. With the two third period goals tonight, the Stingrays have outscored Wheeling 5-1 in the third period in the past two games.
David Pacan’s goal extends his point scoring streak to eight games. Austin Fyten’s assist on the Pacan marker gives him a nine game point streak.
Rookie goalie Vitek Vanecek improves his playoff record to 6-2 with a 1.86 Goals Against Average and 0.929 Save Percentage.
The series concludes in North Charleston with Game six Monday night at 7:05 pm and game seven (if necessary) on Tuesday at 7:05 pm.