Gaul's four assists power Stingrays' 5-1 win over Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla. – Patrick Gaul racked up four assists and Steven McParland had a goal and an assist for the South Carolina Stingrays (4-4-1-0) who scored five straight goals to defeat the Orlando Solar Bears (4-4-1-0) by a final score of 5-1 at the Amway Center Thursday night.
Forwards Scott Tanski and Domenic Monardo each scored their first goals of the season for South Carolina, while the team had a split performance in goal between netminders Parker Milner and Adam Carlson, combining to allow just one goal on 33 Orlando shots.
The Solar Bears struck first with a power play goal by Brett Findlay at 6:15 of the opening period and jumped out to an early 1-0 lead.
Although the Stingrays were being outshot handily by Orlando early on, they fought back and gained momentum late in the frame. Tanski tied up the contest at 1-1 with an unassisted marker at 16:28 of the period. Although no assist was given, linemate John Parker helped make the play and forced the puck away from Orlando, causing a turnover to Tanski, who spun around at the bottom of the left circle and sent the puck under Solar Bear goalie Ryan Massa.
McParland gave South Carolina the lead in the last minute of the first with a short-handed strike for his third goal of the season. Gaul sprung the rookie free down the right wing, and McParland beat Massa with a backhand shot under the right pad to make it 2-1. It was the third goal scored short-handed by the Rays this year.
As the second period was about to start, Milner experienced trouble with his skate, causing him to leave the game. Carlson was forced into action for South Carolina and playing the first 13:50 of the period without allowing a goal and preserving the lead. Milner then returned to play the final 6:10 of the frame.
At 18:06 Menardo extended the SC lead to 3-1, finding a rebound in front off a shot by Gaul and putting it behind Massa and into the net. McParland started the play and earned the second assist and the Stingrays took a two-goal advantage into the third period.
Once again as the third was about to begin, Milner was forced back to the locker room due to his skate. Carlson finished the final 20 minutes of the game and again held Orlando off the board, making nine saves. Milner officially earned the win with 17 stops in 26 minutes of work, while Carlson played 33 minutes and made 15 saves.
In the final frame, Joe Devin increased the South Carolina advantage to 1-0 with a power play goal at 2:47. Gaul and Kelly Zajac were credited with assists on the play.
Finally, McParland scored his second of the night and fourth of the year while Orlando had an empty net at the other end in lieu of an extra attacker. Gaul earned his fourth assist of the night with arguably his best play. After stealing an Orlando pass at his own blue line, the Pittsburgh native skated up the ice with Solar Bear defenders on his back. Although he was dragged down at the opposing blue line, Gaul used his hand to pass the puck to his own skate, then deflected the biscuit over to McParland who finished the play into the gaping net.
The Stingrays finished 1-of-2 on the man-advantage in the game, while Orlando was 1-for-5. The Solar Bears outshot South Carolina 33-28 in the game, with Massa making 23 saves in a losing effort.
The victory was the first for the Stingrays over Orlando this season and was also the first win that came in regulation for the team.
South Carolina is on a three-game winning streak and will once again take on Orlando Friday night at the Amway Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Stingrays return home on Thursday, November 17 to battle the Colorado Eagles.