Gladiators edge Stingrays, 3-2, in overtime
The South Carolina Stingrays were 10-0-0 this season when leading going into the third period.
Make that 10-1-0 after Saturday night.
Gwinnett forward Casey Pierro-Zabotel scored with 1:39 left in overtime as the Gladiators rallied to beat South Carolina, 3-2, before a crowd of 2,862 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Stingrays are 13-13-4 (30 points) and are in third place in the ECHL’s South Division. The Gladiators improved to an Eastern Conference best 19-7-1 (39 points).
Leading by a goal with less than a minute left in regulation, the Stingrays appeared to be headed toward their third win of the season against the Gladiators.
But Pierro-Zabotel got control of the puck along the boards, stepped past a Stingrays defenseman, and slid the puck to the front of the crease.
Tyler Murovich was in the middle of a scrum just outside the crease and got just enough of his stick on the puck to tip it past Stingrays goalie Jeff Jakaitis for the game-tying goal with 21.7 seconds left in regulation.
“It wasn’t a very good third period for us,” said Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery.
“We made a lot of mental mistakes and mistakes from fatigue and we didn’t get on their sticks. Give Gwinnett credit, they found a way to tie the game up and send it into overtime. We’ve got to find a way in that situation to finish off the game.”
The Stingrays had a chance to win the game just seconds into overtime when Hunter Bishop came in all alone on Gladiators goalie Louis Domingue. But the Gladiators’ goalie came up with a sprawling pad save and Tyler McNeely’s rebound shot sailed wide of the net to end the threat.
“Hunter kept his feet moving, drove wide and created a great chance for us,” Carbery said. “That would have been a nice way to end the game. Hunter and Tyler have been a huge part of this team for the last month.”
Two minutes later Pierro-Zabotel knocked home Cody Brookwell’s rebound to end the game.
“It was a very disappointing not to get two points out of that game,” Carbery said. “We played pretty well for two periods, but we let them dictate the pace of the game in the third period. I thought we sat back too much.”
The Gladiators took a 1-0 lead on Evan Bloodoff’s goal with 6:23 left in the first period.
The Stingrays tied the game just two minutes later on Matthew Pistilli’s goal.
Andrew Cherniwchan gave the Stingrays a 2-1 lead when he scored with 0.7 seconds left in the second period.
The Stingrays get a bit of a break before next playing Thursday night at Cincinnati in a 7:30 p.m. start.
Gwinnett 1 0 1 1 – 3
Stingrays 1 1 0 0 – 2
First Period: 1. G, Bloodoff 9 (Clark), 12:37. 2. SC, Pistilli 6 (McNeely, Vidmar), 14:36 (PP). Penalties: Beauregard, SC (slashing ), 9:56; Galiardi, G (double - roughing), 12:26; Cherniwchan, SC (double - roughing), 12:26; Belzile, G (tripping), 13:29.
Second Period: 3. SC, Cherniwchan 4 (Quick, McNeely), :19:59. Penalties: Cherniwchan, SC (high-sticking), 2:02; Vidmar, SC (high-sticking), 2:45; Murovich, G (hooking), 10:41; Villemaire, G (bench - too many men), 13:43.
Third Period: 4. G, Murovich 7 (Pierro-Zabotel, Jones), 19:38. Penalties: Scrymgeour, G (fighting - major), 0:42; Vaughan, SC (fighting - major), 0:42; Murovich, G (interference), 11:45; Langkow, SC (cross-checking), 11:45; Cherniwchan, SC (tripping), 15:37.
Overtime: 5. G, Pierro-Zabotel 9 (Brookwell), 3:21.
Penalties: No penalties. Shots on Goal: Stingrays 7-9-3-3-22; Gwinnett: 14-6-11-2-33. Penalties: Stingrays 8-19; Gwinnett 7-17. Power Play: Stingrays 1 for 3; Gwinnett 0 for 4. Goalies: Stingrays – Jeff Jakaitis (0-0-2) 33 shots, 30 saves. Gwinnett – Louis Domingue (8-1-1) 22 shots, 20 saves. Att: 2,862.