South Carolina Stingrays vs. Gwinnett Gladiators
What: Game 3When: Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.Where: North Charleston ColiseumSeries: Gwinnett leads, 2-0
It doesn’t seem to matter what uniform Joey Haddad wears, he always seems to play his best hockey against the South Carolina Stingrays.
Haddad scored with 16 seconds left in regulation to lift the Gladiators past South Carolina, 3-2, in Game 2 of the ECHL’s Eastern Conference quarterfinals Saturday night at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.
The best-of-seven series shifts back to the Lowcountry for Game 3, which will be played Wednesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum beginning at 7:05 p.m. The Stingrays trail 2-0 in the series.
In 2011 as a member of the Wheeling Nailers, Haddad nearly single-handedly knocked the Stingrays out of the playoffs.
Two years later, he is at it again.
Haddad scored his second time in as many nights against the Stingrays, this one coming in the waning seconds off a turnover at the Stingrays blue line.
Haddad scooped up the loose puck, stick-handled past a Stingrays defender, and beat South Carolina goalie Ryan Zapolski low along the ice for the game-winning goal.
“Obviously Haddad had a big goal, but we gave them a grade-A scoring chance at the end of the game,” said Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery. “It was as much our fault as it was Haddad making a play for them. He’s a good player. He’s been a thorn in our side for a while.”
Despite getting outshot, 39-18, Carbery said the Stingrays’ effort was much better than during the Gladiators 5-0 blowout win in Game 1.
“We were 100 percent better,” Carbery said. “We competed a lot harder and we won battles along the boards that we lost (Friday). The shots on goal is a little misleading, I thought we had about as many scoring chances as they did.”
The Stingrays played the majority of the game without defenseman Ryan Grimshaw and Scooter Vaughan. Neither played in the final two periods. Grimshaw is probably finished for the season with a leg injury, while Vaughan was suffering from cramps.
Gwinnett forward Ryan Ginand gave the Gladiators an early 1-0 lead when he picked up a loose puck at the blue line, stepped around a Stingrays defender and beat Zapolski on a breakaway.
The Stingrays tied the game at 1-1 on Jay Silvia’s first playoff goal. Chris Langkow had the puck behind the net and slid it out front to Siliva, who one-timed it past Gwinnett goalie Louis Domingue for the score with less than five minutes left in the opening period.
Gwinnett’s Evan Bloodoff broke the tie in the third period and gave the Gladiators a 2-1 advantage when he redirected a shot from the point from Ginand.
The Stingrays answered on Derek Foam’s goal midway through the third period to tie the game at 2-2. Foam got the puck at the blue line and wristed a routine shot on net that Gwinnett Louis Domingue let slip between his legs for the score.
South Carolina 1 0 1 - 2
Gwinnett 1 0 3 – 2
First Period: 1. G, Ginand 1 (unassisted), 6:30. 2. SC, Silvia 1 (Langkow, Hirschfeld), 14:49. Penalties: Guimond, G (slashing ), 8:54; Grimshaw, SC (cross-checking), 11:30.
Second Period: No goals. Penalties: Button, SC (roughing), 3:50; Murovich, G (roughing), 3:50; Foam, SC (roughing), 15:44; Haddad, G (cross-checking), 15:44.
Third Period: 3. G, Bloodoff 1 (Ginand, Pierro-Zabotel), 5:31 (PP). 4. SC, Foam 1 (Button, Langkow), 9:57. 5. G, Haddad 2 (Jones), 19:43. Penalties: Langkow, SC (tripping), 3:50; Murovich, G (interference), 13:09; Haddad, G (slashing ), 17:33; Cherniwchan Sc (tripping), 17:41.
Shots on Goal: Gwinnett 11-8-20-39. South Carolina 6-4-8-18. Power Play: Gwinnett 1 of 2; South Carolina: 0 of 3. Penalties: Gwinnett 5-10; South Carolina 5-10. Goalies: Gwinnett – Louis Domingue (2-0) 18 shots, 16 saves. South Carolina – Ryan Zapolski (0-2) 39 shots, 36 saves. A-3,454.