The South Carolina Stingrays threw everything but the kitchen sink at Allen Americans goalie Riley Gill.
But the way Gill was playing Sunday night in Game 4 of the Kelly Cup Finals, he probably would have saved the kitchen sink as well.
Vincent Arseneau scored with 11:11 left in the second overtime period and Gill made 44 saves to lead Allen past South Carolina in Game 4 of the Kelly Cup finals before a raucous crowd of 7,068 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
With the victory, the Americans tied the best-of-seven series at 2 with Game 5 on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum. Game 6 will be Wednesday night at home at 7:05 p.m.
Gill, who won a Kelly Cup title in 2012 with the Reading Royals, looked across the ice all night at South Carolina goalie Jeff Jakaitis, the reigning MVP and three-game ECHL goalie of the year.
While Gill said he didn’t view the series as a matchup between himself and Jakaitis, he did admit that facing the veteran goalie does give him an added incentive.
“Jeff’s been around for a long time and we’ve had some great battles over the years,” Gill said. “You don’t get to this point in the playoffs without some good goaltending and Jeff is one of the best. I’m more focused on my game and what we’re doing than who’s in the other net.”
Gill was at his best in the first overtime period when he made 10 saves, including several scrambling stops around his crease.
“I thought both goalies were really good tonight,” said Allen coach Steve Martinson. “Gill was outstanding all night and especially in that first overtime. He kept us in it and gave us a chance to win the game in the second overtime period.”
It wasn’t like the Stingrays didn’t have their chances, but every time they got close, Gill was there to end the threat.
“Give Gill credit, he played a great game,” said South Carolina coach Spencer Carbery. “We did all the right things, but we just couldn’t finish. Gill is a big body and we hit him a lot in the chest area. We probably didn’t make it as a difficult as we could have with getting traffic to the net and battling for rebounds, but we were better offensively.”
The game-winner came on a broken play. After a battle along the boards, the puck squirted out to Arseneau, who wristed it past Jakaitis to end the game.
“I got tipped after he shot it,” Jakaitis said. “When he released it, my original read was that it was going to the blocker side and it got tipped up over my shoulder. It’s frustrating. I probably got caught a little deeper in my net than I should have been. We’re a team, but when you’re a goalie, it’s frustrating to lose those games.”
The Americans scored back-to-back goals in less than 30 seconds from Dyson Stevenson and Greger Hanson early in the opening period.
The Stingrays answered just before the end of the first period when Derek DeBlois scored just after a five-on-three power play.
South Carolina’s Caleb Herbert tied the game midway through the second period when he redirected a pass from Joe Devin.
“We battled back, but that’s kind of what you’d expect from this group,” Carbery said. “We’re going to reset, refocus and get ready for Game 4.”