NORTH CHARLESTON, SC- Adirondack had an eight day layoff from their round one victory and showed no rust with a fast start. They kept South Carolina on their heels early and answered every punch the Stingrays had. Despite a late Rally the Thunder would prevail 5-4 for the 1-0 series lead.
The first period was an uncharacteristic start to the second round for South Carolina. Peter MacArthur would score on a wraparound goal just 23 seconds in to the game.
The Stingrays had a chance to regain some momentum with Mathieu Brodeur in the box for tripping but it was Adirondack that would keep their roll going with a shorthanded goal from Ben Johnson.
Joey Leach would stop the bleeding for South Carolina with a seeing eye shot from the point that found its way past Ken Appleby.
Adirondack’s Brodeur killed any momentum South Carolina had when he wired a laser by a screened Vitek Vanecek from the point for the 3-1 lead. The goal would spell the end of Vitek’s night after giving up 3 goals on seven shots. South Carolina finished the period in an unfamiliar place outshot 10-6 and down 3-1.
Just as they did in the first round, the Stingrays used the second period to impose their will on Adirondack. After a couple of Powerplays that went for not, Austin Fyten found Caleb Herbert wide open in front to give South Carolina new life at 3-2.
It seemed as though it was only a matter of time that the Stingrays would tie it up when once again Adirondack would respond. A broken play caught Mark Dekanich out of position allowing Greg Wolfe to roof the puck and restore the two goal lead at 4-2. The response goals were something that Kalamazoo did not have against the Stingrays in round one.
It was not an overly dominant period from there, with lots of sloppy plays by both sides. The Thunder would get another goal off a pretty passing play finished by Dana Frasier with under two minutes to play.
South Carolina held the 10-3 shot advantage at the end of the frame but gave up two goals on those three shots to grow the deficit to 5-2.
South Carolina again pushed the pace in the third period. Derek DeBlois would bury his own rebound on the powerplay six minutes in to the frame to keep the comeback hopes alive.
Adirondack decided to lay back to kill time by dumping the puck out and muddling up the neutral zone. It appeared as though that strategy might pay off until the 14:12 mark when DeBlois again found his own rebound to cut the lead to 5-4. The Stingrays would have some close calls but couldn’t find the tying goal.
It was a penalty full affair with 14 powerplay opportunities between the two teams. Adirondack went 1/6 on the powerplay, while South Carolina was 1/8 on the man advantage.
The Thunder penalty killing unit has allowed just three goals on 31 times shorthanded. The unit played a large roll in keeping the Thunder ahead for good.
Game two of the best of seven series is tonight at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05 pm.