Sooner or later, South Carolina Stingrays goalie Ryan Zapolski was going to give up a goal.
The Stingrays just wish it had come later rather than sooner.
Zapolski had his shutout streak halted midway through the second period and gave up a goal in overtime as Gwinnett defeated the Stingrays, 2-1, on Tuesday before a crowd of 1,762 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Stingrays still got a much-needed point out of the loss and are 30-24-6 (66 points) with 12 games left in the regular season. The Gladiators improved to 34-23-5 (71 points) and remained in first place in the ECHL’s South Division.
Zapolski, who had three consecutive shutouts coming into Tuesday night’s matchup, extended his shutout streak to 212 minutes, but had it end when Gladiators rookie forward Evan Bloodoff scored over the shoulder of Zapolski midway through the second period.
Zapolski’s streak of 212 shutout minutes is second in franchise history, trailing only Shane Connelly, whose shutout streak lasted for 220 minutes during the 2009-10 season.
It was a disappointing performance for the Stingrays, who faced a Gladiator team that was playing with just 13 skaters, three less than the norm.
Afterward, South Carolina coach Spencer Carbery was upset over his team’s lack of effort, despite the fact that this was the fourth game in five days for the Stingrays.
“That was about as embarrassing a performance as I’ve seen in this building and that’s going back a few years,” Carbery said. “It’s really frustrating, given what’s on the line and where some of our players are at in our locker room. There was no desperation. I can understand some of guys might not have had their legs tonight, but that’s no excuse for not battling, for not competing out there tonight.”
The Stingrays were coming off a hugely successful weekend, taking two of three games from Greenville.
But the momentum the Stingrays created over the weekend was no where to be found Tuesday night, according to Carbery.
“We were outworked, we were out-competed, we got beat to loose pucks and we lost every battle in all three zones,” Carbery said. “They basically had two lines and we got completely dominated in every aspect of the game and that’s extremely disappointing at this point in the season.”
The Stingrays grabbed a 1-0 lead five minutes into the first period when Ryan Hayes beat Gwinnett goalie Jody O’Neill for the score.
Bloodoff tied the game at the 8:15 mark of the second period.
Yuri Bouharevich redirected Ryan Doanld’s shot from the point to give the Gladiators the victory.
“We got a point, that’s about the only thing to come out of this game,” Carbery said.
Gwinnett 0 1 0 1—2
Stingrays 1 0 0 0—1
First Period: 1. SC, Hayes 9 (Sackrison, Kuqali), 5:31. Penalties-Brodie SC (delay of game), 12:43.
Second Period: 2. G, Bloodoff 17 (Donald), 8:15. Penalties: MacLeod, SC (high-sticking), 12:34; Brandt, G (high-sticking), 15:53.
Third Period: No goals. Penalties: MacLeod, SC (holding), 4:51; Bouharevich, G (interference), 13:31; Fienhage, G (cross-checking), 15:22.
Overtime: 3. G, Bouharevich 2 (Donald, Fienhage), 2:38. Penalties: No Penalties. Shots on Goal: Stingrays 7-3-5-2-17; Gwinnett 8-7-8-2-25. Penalties: Stingrays 3-6; Gwinnett 3-6. Power Play: Stingrays 0 for 3; Gwinnett 0 for 3. Goalies: Stingrays – Ryan Zapolski (20-9-1) 25 shots, 23 saves. Gwinnett – Jody O’Neill (4-1-0) 17 shots, 16 saves. Att: 1,762.