South Carolina forward Chris Langkow came to the Stingrays with a reputation of being a solid two-way forward.
In the past week, Langkow has turned himself into the Stingrays’ top offensive threat.
Langkow scored again, his fourth goal in three games, to lead the Stingrays past Florida, 3-2, Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 3,088 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Stingrays, who snapped a modest two-game losing skid, improved to 16-18-4 (36 points) and moved into fourth place in the ECHL’s South Division. The Everblades fell to 15-13-7 (37 points).
In dire need of a centerman, the Stingrays traded for Langkow back in November. In 24 games with the Stingrays, Langkow has nine goals and 10 assists. Langkow has five points, including two short-handed goals, in his last three games.
“When we got Chris, we didn’t expect him to be our go-to guy offensively, but we wanted him to be a reliable guy, especially in our defensive zone,” said Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery. “When Chris can chip in offensively, it’s an added bonus for us. He’s been able to find the back of the net in the last couple of weeks.”
South Carolina goalie Jeff Jakaitis, who is the reigning ECHL Goalie of the Year, picked up his first victory of the season, stopping 26 shots. Jakaitis, who improved to 1-2-2 on the season, missed the first half of the season recovering from a knee injury he suffered last season.
“We knew it was going to take a little while for Jeff to get his game back after an injury like he had last season,” Carbery said. “I don’t think Jeff has been very happy with his game lately. He was solid all game, made a couple of nice saves in the first period and then did a good job with his rebound control. Any time you can get a win, it’s going to help your confidence.”
The Stingrays grabbed a 1-0 lead on Robby Dee’s goal midway through the first period. Dee got the puck along the right boards, stick-handled past an Everblades defender and ripped a shot past Florida goalie John Muse for his fifth goal of the season.
The Stingrays got two goals in the second period, one from Luka Vidmar on the power play and the other from Langkow to take a 3-2 lead going into the final period. The Everblades got two goals from Brayden Irwin in the second period.
The Everblades had a couple of scoring chances in the third period, including one in the waning seconds from Irwin, but couldn’t get the tying goal.
The Stingrays had lost two one-goal games earlier in the week to Gwinnett (3-2) and Greenville (2-1).
“It’s a big win, a big two points for us,” Carbery said. “It was nice to be on the other end of one of those one-goal games.”
Florida 0 2 0 — 2
South Carolina 1 2 0 — 3
First Period: 1. SC, Dee 5 (Beca, Turek), 12:28. Penalties: Marquardt, F (fighting - major), 11:50; Courtnall, SC (fighting - major), 11:50.
Second Period: 2. F, Irwin 7 (Hutchings, Salters), 1:38. 3. SC, Vidmar 2 (Quick), 3:27 (PP). 4. F, Irwin 8 (Salters, Hutchings), 6:09 (PP). 5. SC, Langkow 11 (McNeely, Foam), 15:06. Penalties: Schmitz, F (holding), 2:55; Bishop, SC (holding), 5:00; Dee, SC (tripping), 8:51; Bogosian, F (fighting - major), 15:59; Vaughan, SC (fighting - major), 15:59.
Third Period: No goals. Penalties: Courtnall, SC (hooking), 2:16; Dee, SC (hooking), 8:50; Roy, F (tripping), 15:48.
Shots on Goal: Stingrays 7-8-4-19; Florida: 8-7-13-28. Penalties: Stingrays 6-18; Florida 4-14. Power Play: Stingrays 1 for 2; Florida 1 for 4. Goalies: Stingrays – Jeff Jakaitis (1-2-1) 28 shots, 26 saves. Florida – John Muse (9-8-4) 19 shots, 16 saves. Att: 3,088.