Staal’s goal paces Stingrays over Mavericks

Jared Staal’s goal at 5:26 of the third period of play helped the South Carolina Stingrays (26-16-3-2) beat the ECHL’s top team, the Missouri Mavericks (35-6-2-1), 4-2, Tuesday night at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.

The loss was only the second defeat suffered by the Mavericks at home this season, and the victory was South Carolina’s fourth straight win.

With the game tied, 2-2, the Stingrays earned their first lead of the evening on Staal’s goal. Forward Trevor Gillies collected the puck on the right wing. He threw a shot towards Missouri goaltender Stephon Williams. The netminder made a save, but the rebound sat loose behind the Mavericks goal. Staal collected the puck and scored his seventh goal of the season on a wrap-around to put South Carolina up, 3-2.

The Stingrays were forced to battle back twice during Tuesday’s game. Missouri opened the scoring at 6:33 of the first period as Tyler Barnes scored on a scramble from the crease.

South Carolina would even the score at 11:46 on a goal by Stephan Vigier. Forward Brett Cameron’s work made the play happen. He chased down a loose puck in the corner and created a turnover. After receiving a pass from Nick D’Agostino, Cameron threw a backhand pass in front to Vigier, who was waiting in the slot. Vigier beat Williams five-hole for his 12th goal of the year.

The Mavericks regained the lead 2:07 into the second period as Matt Finn beat Stingrays goalie Mark Dekanich on a shot from the point to make it 2-1 Missouri. The Stingrays fought back again as Joe Devin scored on the power play at 16:57 to even the score.

In the third period, Staal gave the Stingrays the lead, and Dekanich came up with 21 saves on the evening to earn the win. Wade Epp added an insurance marker, scoring an empty net goal with 42 seconds remaining to make it 4-2 South Carolina.

South Carolina’s penalty kill held Missouri to 0-for-6 on the power play. The Stingrays went 1-for-3 on the power play.

The Stingrays continue a four-game road trip Wednesday in Tulsa with an 8:05 p.m. puck drop.