Third period comeback earns Stingrays game 5 victory
Three tallies in the third period of Game 5 gave the South Carolina Stingrays their third consecutive win and a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night at the SNHU Arena by a score of 3-1.
Steven McParland and Olivier Archambault both had a goal and an assist in the final period, while Kelly Zajac added an insurance marker and Parker Milner made 19 saves in the victory.
South Carolina took a few penalties early in the game and Manchester was able to capitalize on their third opportunity of the first period when Matt Leitner deflected a shot past Milner at 11:16 of the opening frame. The Monarchs took their early 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Neither team struck in the middle period despite lots of chances for both sides. The Stingrays outshot Manchester 12-8 in the frame but still found themselves trailing as the third period began.
South Carolina owned the third, holding the Monarchs to just three shots in the final 20 minutes. The Stingrays needed just seven chances on net to score three times, taking control of the game and the series.
McParland tied the game at 4:19 with a shot from the center of the top of the zone that got deflected by a Manchester player and past the glove of goaltender Sam Brittain. Assists on the Rays’ first strike of the contest went to defenseman Joey Leach and forward John Parker.
2:18 later it was Archambault who gave South Carolina the lead for good on the power play off a pass from defenseman Cody Corbett. The blueliner stepped past a check on the wall and moved deep into the Manchester zone before feeding Archambault who was wide open in front of the net for the tally. McParland was also credited with the second assist on the strike, which gave the Stingrays a 2-1 advantage.
Zajac added insurance at 16:37 of the final period, scoring his fifth tally of the playoffs off a 2-on-1 pass by Domenic Monardo. Zajac received the puck and moved it to his backhand, which opened up space, before shoving it into the net. Archambault was credited with the second assist on the goal that made it 3-1.
The Stingrays finished 1-for-3 on the power play while holding Manchester to 1-for-7 on the man-advantage. South Carolina stayed out of the box for the most part in the third period, with the only infraction coming to Joe Devin for tripping at 7:05. The Rays also outshot the Monarchs 29-20 in the game.
South Carolina will have a chance to close out the series in Game 6 on Monday night at 7 p.m. at the SNHU Arena.