Stingrays hop over Swamp Rabbing on opening night, 4-3
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Two goals from forward Steven Whitney gave the South Carolina Stingrays (1-0-0-0) enough to defeat the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (0-2-1-0) on opening night of the team’s 25th anniversary season in the Lowcountry on Friday at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Whitney’s tallies came in his first game with the team, while forward Tim McGauley recorded two assists for South Carolina in the win and goaltender Jeff Jakaitis turned aside 28 shots to earn the victory.
South Carolina only trailed once in the contest after Greenville’s Joe Basaraba netted a power play goal nine minutes into the first period to put the Swamp Rabbits ahead 1-0.
Whitney tied things up with his first goal of the night just 3:22 later, scoring with a wrist shot off a pass by McGauley. The second assist on the strike came from defenseman Frankie Simonelli, his first point of the year in his return to South Carolina.
The Rays seized the lead at 2-1 in the final second of the opening period on a slap shot by defenseman Tommy Hughes that found the back of the net with 0.9 left on the clock. Forwards Jeremy Morin and Kelly Zajac had helpers on the last second tally.
Andrew Cherniwchan extended South Carolina’s advantage to 3-1 with his first goal of the year at 3:48 of the middle frame. The Hinton, Alta. native was able to deflect the puck out of the air and past Greenville netminder Ty Rimmer from the front of the net after a saucer pass by McGauley. Forward Dylan Margonari was credited with the second assist on the play, earning a point in his return from a season-ending injury in January.
The Swamp Rabbits inched closer at 12:14 of the second when Adam Chapie scored to make it 3-2 in favor of South Carolina, but a response by Whitney gave the Rays a 2-goal lead once again.
Whitney’s second of the night came from defensemen Danny Federico and Marcus Perrier at 12:14 and turned out to be the game-winner.
Allan McPherson put Greenville within one on the power play at 5:49 of the third period, but the Swamp Rabbits could not find an equalizer against Jakaitis, who stood tall in the final minutes on multiple chances at his net.
South Carolina went 1-for-7 on the power play in the opener, while Greenville finished 2-for-7 on the man advantage. The Stingrays also out-shot the Swamp Rabbits in the contest, 39-31. Rimmer finished the contest with 35 saves between the pipes in the loss.
The Stingrays now travel to Jacksonville to face the Icemen for the first time on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
2017-18 Season Ticket Packages are on sale now featuring discounted pricing and great benefits! The club’s 7-Game Plan features tickets to all the biggest games plus added benefits! For more information, fans may call the Stingrays' office at 843-744-2248 or visit StingraysHockey.com.