Forward Wayne Simpson recorded his first professional hat trick and goaltender Pheonix Copley earned his first professional win to help the South Carolina Stingrays (40-22-2-4) clinch a berth in the 2014 Kelly Cup Playoffs with a 6-5 shootout victory over the Florida Everblades (33-26-3-5) at Germain Arena Wednesday night.
Everblades forward Brandon MacLean began the scoring 8:19 into the first period lifting in his 20 goal of the season. The Stingrays responded with an unassisted shorthanded tally by forward Luke Greiner at 17:07 beating Everblades netminder Mac Carruth (SOL, 29 saves on 34 shots). Less than a minute later, the Everblades reclaimed the lead on the power play when forward Aaron Bogosian slipped the puck past Stingrays goaltender Allen York (19 saves on 22 shots) at 18:06.
Forward Mathieu Roy gave the Everblades a 3-1 lead on the man advantage early in the third period knocking a rebound past York at 1:48. Shortly after the marker, York left the contest and was replaced by Copley (W, nine saves on 11 shots), making his professional debut. At the 7:15 mark, forward Patrick Gaulcapitalized on a five-minute power play to pull the contest back within one. Simpson and forward Brett Gensler added assists. On the same extra-man opportunity, Simpson tied the game rifling a pass from Gaul past Carruth at 8:32. Defenseman Brendan Ellis picked up the second assist. Simpson completed the hat trick at 17:41 finishing a 2-on-1 rush with forward Dale Mitchell.
The Everblades rallied with two goals late in the stanza with Carruth pulled for the extra skater to force overtime. Defenseman Rob Kweit made it 5-4 at 18:56 and Roy lit the lamp with 2.6 seconds to play. In the shootout, Mitchell and Simpson registered goals to seal the victory.
The Stingrays and Everblades collide again on Saturday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. and close their head-to-head season series on Sunday, April 6 at 5:00 p.m. all at Germain Arena. The five-game road trip ends on Tuesday, April 8 against the Greenville Road Warriors at 7:00 p.m. at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
Celebrate Fan Appreciation Night and The Post and Courier Hall of Fame Night on Friday, April 11 against the Elmira Jackals at the North Charleston Coliseum! The first 1,000 fans receive a 2013-14 team photo courtesy of Sheila Lauffer at Data Imaging! Friday is also FREE parking! Cast your ballot for the Stingrays Hall of Fame! Click here to vote!