South Carolina Stingrays beat Greenville Road Warriors
The South Carolina Stingrays moved one step closer to the Kelly Cup playoffs as they rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Greenville Road Warriors on Friday night before a crowd of 3,088 at the BI-LO Center in Greenville.
Maxime Lacroix scored two goals, including the game-winner with less than seven minutes in the third period, as the Stingrays won in Greenville for the first time all season.
The Stingrays (36-28-7, 79 points) are in seventh place in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference going into tonight’s season finale against the Road Warriors at the North Charleston Coliseum. The Stingrays can clinch a spot in next week’s Kelly Cup playoffs with a win over Greenville or a regulation loss by Reading, Cincinnati and Chicago.
“It was no secret the situation we were faced with going into the weekend,” said Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery. “I thought we answered with a very good effort. The guys played very well and the intensity was there from the drop of the puck. It’s a huge win, but we have to put this game behind us and get ready for (tonight), which is just as big a game.”
Lacroix hit the game-winner with 6:22 left in the third off an assist from Daniel Koger.
“Max has scored big goals so many times in a Stingrays uniform that you kind of expect it from him,” Carbery said. “He had a huge goal on the power play earlier in the first period that tied the game up and then got the game winner when it mattered most. When you’re looking down the bench and you’re trying to find someone to come up with a big goal, you usually start with No. 22.”
After giving up a goal on the first shot of the game to Jeremy Gouchie just 31 seconds into the opening period, Stingrays goalie Daren Machesney, making his first start since suffering a torn groin muscle on Jan. 28, made 28 saves for the win.
“Daren has worked his butt off to get back on the ice after being out nine weeks,” Carbery said. “You don’t know what to expect from a goalie after that long of a layoff. Daren was phenomenal. He made a couple of scrambling saves in the third period that kept us in the game.”
It was the first win at the BI-LO center this season for the Stingrays, who were 0-5-2 against the Road Warriors on their home ice coming into the game.
“I don’t think any of that mattered,” Carbery said. “We were just desperate for a win. This is a young team and we’ve got some new faces in the lineup and they needed to experience some success.”
The Road Warriors led 2-1 going into the first intermission off of goals from Gouchie and Marc-Olivier Vallerand. But the Stingrays tied the game up just 90 seconds into the second period on Koger’s power play goal.