The Icemen entered the third period with a good chance to snap a two-game losing streak, but a three-goal third period propelled the Stingrays to a 6-3 win over Jacksonville.
Both teams entered this afternoon’s game on tired legs, having played the previous two nights. However, that didn’t stop Jacksonville from getting a quick start in the first period. Cameron Critchlow connected first for his 12th goal of the season, snapping a seven-game scoreless drought for the forward. South Carolina wouldn’t take long to tie the game, as Steven Whitney sent Kelly Zajac a nice feed and he skated in all by himself and beat Austin Lotz on the power play. Towards the end of the frame, Mike Chen fired a shot from above the slot and Whitney managed to deflect the puck past Lotz for the Stingrays’ first lead of the game.
Near the halfway point in the second, the Icemen would earn their first power-play opportunity of the game. Tim Daly fired a shot from the blue line that produced a juicy rebound, and Matt Ustaski was right in front of Jeff Jakaitis to quickly pounce on the loose puck and tie the game at two. The goal was Ustaski’s first professionaly and was Jacksonville’s first goal on the man advantage in three games. Just over a minute later, Dajon Mingo and Jimmy Lodge played pitch and catch with the puck before Mingo sent the puck past a diving Jakaitis for the second Icemen lead of the game. Late in the second, the Stingrays would get a long 5-on-3 man advantage, and Joe Devin wouldn’t miss an opportunity from the slot and tied the game at three.
Throughout most of the third period, the Icemen had several quality scoring chances, but were unable to find the back of the net to break the deadlock. With under four minutes to play, Leo Fitzgerald found Kelly Zajac charging the post and Zajac snuck the puck past Lotz for the game-winning goal. Almost two minutes later, the roles were reversed and Zajac found Fitzgerald for his first professional goal to give South Carolina a comfortable two-goal lead. Taylor Cammarata sealed the deal with an empty-net goal to give the Stingrays the 6-3 win.
Next up, the Icemen travel to Atlanta for two games against the Gladiators on Thursday, March 15 and Saturday, March 17. Don’t miss out when the Icemen return home for their next game at Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. Click here to secure your tickets today!