Earlier in the day on Friday, South Carolina Stingrays goalie Ryan Zapolski was named the ECHL’s most valuable player.
South Carolina vs. Gwinnett
What: Game 2When: Tonight, 7:05 p.m.Where: The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Duluth Ga.Series: Gwinnett leads, 1-0
Obviously, that didn’t matter much to the Gwinnett Gladiators.
Gwinnett forward Tyler Murovich scored two goals and Louis Domingue stopped all 24 shots he faced to lead the Gladiators past South Carolina, 5-0, Friday in Game 1 of the ECHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.
The Gladiators lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0. Game 2 will be played today at 7:05 p.m. at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.
The loss certainly can’t be pinned on the play of Zapolski, who won the ECHL’s rookie of the year and goalie of the year honors as well as the MVP.
There was plenty of blame to go around.
“I think we were a little nervous and some of the guys were caught off-guard on what playoff hockey means,” said South Carolina coach Spencer Carbery. “The guys were not prepared and didn’t realize that the level of play was going to be this high during the playoffs. I hope we learned a valuable lesson tonight. Our compete-level wasn’t nearly where it needed to be to win a playoff game. Everyone in our locker room needs to elevate their game.”
Carbery said the Stingrays veered away from their game plan.
“The pace of the game surprised some of our guys, and we didn’t make very good decisions with the puck,” Carbery said. “Things that we’ve normally done well, our bread-and-butter during the regular season, we didn’t do well tonight. We’ve got to keep our game simple. There was way too much individual play out there tonight.”
Carbery is confident the Stingrays can rebound in Game 2.
“This game is over, it’s done. We need to learn from it and put it behind us,” Carbery said. “It’s only one game. The score doesn’t matter. It’s the same as getting beaten, 2-1, in overtime. We need to be a lot better in Game 2, and I’m confident we’ll come out with a better effort (tonight).”
Gwinnett’s Joey Hadded gave the Gladiators a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period.
Scott Arnold and Murovich added goals in the second period to give the Gladiators a 3-0 advantage going into the final period.
Murovich added another goal, his second of the night, in the third period.
Domenic Monardo pushed the Gladiators advantage to 5-0 late in third period.
The Stingrays were outshot, 30-24, during the game.
South Carolina 0 0 0 - 0
Gwinnett 1 2 2 - 5
First Period: 1. G, Haddad 1 (Llewellyn, Bowers), 10:47. Penalties: Vaughan SC (roughing), 3:40.
Second Period: 2. G, Arnold 1 (Pierro-Zabotel, Ginand), 13:39. 3. G, Murovich 1 (Arnold, Bloodoff), 15:14. Penalties: Brookwell, G (hooking), 7:06.
3rd Period: 4. G, Murovich 2 (Llewellyn), 3:23. 5. G, Monardo 1 (Bloodoff, Donald), 14:53. Penalties: Llewellyn, G (interference), 3:50; Donald, G (roughing), 8:37; Hirschfeld, SC (roughing), 10:46; Murovich, G (roughing), 10:46; Sackrison, SC (interference), 12:50; Courtnall, SC (cross-checking), 20:00; Donald, G (high-sticking), 20:00.
Shots on Goal: Gwinnett 13-8-9-30. South Carolina 9-5-10-24. Power Play: Gwinnett 0 of 2; South Carolina: 0 of 3. Penalties: Gwinnett 5-10; South Carolina 4-8. Goalies: Gwinnett – Louis Domingue (1-0) 24 shots, 24 saves. South Carolina – Ryan Zapolski (0-1) 30 shots, 25 saves. A-2696.