Too many games and too many new faces finally caught up with the South Carolina Stingrays.
The Greenville Road Warriors scored two early goals and held off a late South Carolina rally to beat the Stingrays, 3-2, Sunday before a crowd of 3,036 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
It was the second regulation loss this weekend for the Stingrays, who dropped to 17-4-3 and fell to second place in the ECHL's South Division. The Road Warriors improved to 9-13-2 (20 points).
Playing in their third game in less than three days and with eight players up in the American Hockey League, the Stingrays looked lethargic during a sluggish opening period.
The Road Warriors got two goals in the opening five minutes, outshooting the Stingrays, 12-8, in the first period.
"We didn't have a whole lot of jump coming out of the locker room and Greenville came out with a lot of energy," said Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery. "We had a couple of mental breakdowns in our defensive zone and they ended up in the back of our net."
The Road Warriors kicked off the scoring 3:49 into the contest with a goal from forward Brett Perlini, who beat Stingrays goalie David LeNeveu off the right post.
Less than a minute later, defenseman Ryan Hegarty gave the Road Warriors a two-goal advantage at 4:25.
"They jumped on us pretty quickly, but I thought after the second goal we settled down and played better," Carbery said. "It just wasn't a good start for us."
The Stingrays rallied in the second period, scoring two goals from newcomers Parker Stanfield and Kyle Bodie.
Stanfield put the Stingrays on the scoreboard at 3:53 of the second period, rifling a rebound between the legs of Road Warriors goalie Scott Stajcer. Bodie picked up the lone assist.
But the Road Warriors answered when forward Marc Vallerand made it 3-1 with the eventual game-winning goal at 14:53.
With forward Igor Gongalsky in the penalty box for cross-checking, Bodie buried the fifth shorthanded goal of the season for the Stingrays at 17:57 to make it 3-2. Stingrays forward Peter Boyd got the assist on Bodie's goal.
The Stingrays had several scoring chances in the third period, but Stajcer was there to make the save.
"I thought we played a good second and third period," Carbery said. "We just ran out of gas. We were running on fumes in the third period. I can't fault our effort or our compete level in the third period."
The Stingrays will face Gwinnett on the road Friday night. The Stingrays' next home game is Saturday against Gladiators beginning at 7 p.m.
Greenville 2 0 1-3
Stingrays 0 1 1-2
First Period: 1. G, Perlini 2 (Klassen, Vaive), 3:49. 2. G, Hegarty 1 (Berkstresser, Cameron), 4:25. Penalties: Spinell, SC (delay of game), 7:58.
Second Period: 3. SC, Stanfield 1 (Bodie), 3:53. 4. G, Vallerand 5 (St. Croix, Johnston), 14:53. 5. SC, Bodie 3 (Boyd), 17:57 (SH). Penalties: Cole, G (interference), 1:39; Vaive, G (hooking), 5:13; Price, SC (delay of game), 10:54; Gongalsky, SC (cross-checking), 16:20; Vaive, G (fighting - major), 18:57; Collins, SC (fighting - major), 18:57; Vallerand, G (holding), 19:28.
Third Period: No goals. Penalties: Dodero, G (interference), 4:27; served by Rodrigues, SC (bench - too many men), 11:21.
Shots on Goal: Stingrays 8-7-6-21; Greenville: 12-3-6-21. Penalties: Stingrays 5-13; Greenville 5-13. Power Play: Stingrays 0 for 4; Greenville 0 for 4. Goalies: Stingrays - David LeNeveu (2-2-0) 21 shots, 18 saves. Greenville - Scott Stajcer (2-3-0) 21 shots, 19 saves. Att: 3,036.