During the preseason, South Carolina Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery promised a more offensive team for the 2013-14 season.
So far, so good.
Chad Painchaud scored two goals and Jeff Jakaitis stopped 21 of 22 shots to lead South Carolina past Greenville, 4-1, in the home opener for the Stingrays before a crowd of 5,070 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Stingrays, unbeaten in their first four games of the season, are 3-0-1 (7 points) and are in first place in the ECHL’s South Division. Greenville fell to 2-2-0 (4 points).
The Stingrays, who rallied for two goals in the final minute Friday night to beat Greenville, 2-1, dominated from the opening faceoff, outshooting the Road Warriors 43-22 and creating more than double the scoring chances.
“That was a big night for us, it’s always a important to put your best foot forward on opening night,” Carbery said. “It was important for us to start hard tonight and build on the momentum that we’d created (Friday night). We want to establish early in the season that when you come on our home ice, it’s going to be a long night. That was a great start for us.”
Painchaud, who played earlier in his career for South Division rivals Gwinnett, made the most of his home debut in a Stingrays uniform.
His power play goal in the first period set the tone for the Stingrays both offensively and on special teams. Painchaud walked off the half boards and wristed a nasty shot past Carson Chubak for the score.
“There are not many guys in pro that can walk off the wall and get a shot off like Chad can,” Carbery said. “He has that kind of ability to beat a goalie on the short side.”
The line of Painchaud, Chris Langkow and Jack Downing accounted for nearly half of the Stingrays shots on goal.
“I thought that line was dominant. I thought that was the best game of the season for them so far,” Carbery said. “They were flying around the net and creating chances every time they were on the ice. They were our best line all night.”
The Stingrays took a 2-0 lead into the final period and put the game out of reach when Scott Campbell scored off a beautiful cross-ice pass from Igor Gongalsky less than five minutes into the third period. Painchaud added his second goal off a rebound midway through the final period to give the Stingrays a 4-0 advantage.
Greenville’s Elgin Pearce broke up Jakaitis’ shutout bid with a goal late in the third period.
“That was really the only negative,” Carbery said. “Wish we could have gotten that for Jeff, but overall I thought we were very solid in our defensive zone.”
Greenville 0 0 1 – 1
Stingrays 2 0 2 – 4
First Period: 1. SC, Painchaud 1 (Vaughan, Pallis), 7:15 (PP). 2. SC, Hagel 2 (Boyd, Grimshaw), 10:45. Penalties: Stamler, G (fighting - major), 0:49; Gongalsky, SC (fighting - major), 0:49; Johnston Grn (holding), 0:59; Kirzinger G (hooking), 5:56; Berkstresser, G (roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:31; Spinell, SC (roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct - disputing decision), 10:31; Gongalsky, SC (tripping), 12:28.
Second Period: No goals. No Penalties: Asselin, G (slashing ), 0:55; Langkow, SC (slashing ), 10:33; Noreau, G (high-sticking), 16:14.
Third Period: 3. SC, Campbell 4 (Gongalsky, Vidmar), 4:37. 4. SC, Painchaud 2 (Downing, Langkow), 8:29 (PP). 5. G, Pearce 2 (Asselin, Berkstresser), 13:30. Penalties: Dodero, G (cross-checking), 6:51; Carroll, G (roughing), 10:30; Owens, SC (roughing), 10:30.
Shots on Goal: Stingrays 18-13-12-43; Greenville: 6-8-8-22. Penalties: Stingrays 6-15; Greenville 9-21. Power Play: Stingrays 2 for 5; Greenville 0 for 2. Goalies: Stingrays –.Jeff Jakaitis (3-0-1) 22 shots, 21 saves. Greenville – Carson Chubak (1-1-0) 43 shots, 39 saves. Att: 5,070.