ORLANDO, Fla. — Goaltender Vitek Vanecek stopped 32 shots and Joey Leach had a goal and an assist to lead the South Carolina Stingrays to a 2-1 win at the Amway Center on Saturday night.
The victory was the Stingrays’ third straight win, and second consecutive win over Orlando.
The Solar Bears peppered Vanecek in the opening period with 15 shots. The South Carolina netminder was sharp, keeping Orlando off the scoreboard. The Stingrays rewarded their goaltender’s play with a late first-period goal.
Paul Rodrigues gave the Stingrays a 1-0 lead with his first goal of the season with only 31 seconds left in the period.
The Stingrays maintained possession of the puck in the offense zone and fed the puck to the blue line. Leach found Rodrigues in the slot, and the forward beat Orlando goaltender Rob Madore over the blocker with a wrist shot.
The Stingrays doubled their lead at the 14:25 mark of the second period. Rodrigues moved the puck back to Leach at the left point. The defenseman fired a slapshot up and over the glove of Madore to give South Carolina a 2-0 lead. The goal was Leach’s third of the season.
Orlando made the game tight with a goal in the final minute of the second period to cut the score to 2-1 South Carolina. T.J. Foster notched his seventh goal of the season from a sharp angle.
Foster charged down the left wing and snapped a shot from the goal line that beat Vanecek short-side at 19:11.
Foster’s goal was the only blemish for Vanecek on a stellar night for the rookie goaltender. The 19-year-old stopped nine additional shots in the third period to earn his fifth win of the season. His 32 stops earned him the game’s First Star.
The Stingrays held Orlando to 0-for-4 on the power play on Saturday. South Carolina outshot Orlando 34-33.
The Stingrays continue their 10-game road trip in Orlando on Monday with a 7 p.m. puck drop.