South Carolina outlasts Florida

NORTH CHARLESTON-SC-The South Carolina Stingrays used a first period goal by forward Robby Dee and two second period strikes by defenseman Luka Vidmar and forward Chris Langkow to outlast the Florida Everblades (15-13-7) 37 points at the North Charleston Coliseum Sunday. The ‘Rays (16-18-4) with 36 points currently have a two point lead over the last place Orlando Solar Bears in the South Division of the ECHL Eastern Conference. They are in 10th place in the conference standings.  
A matinee crowd of 3,049 saw newcomer goalie Jeff Jakaitis sweep aside 26 of 28 shots to record the win.   His counterpart John Muse allowed three goals on 19 shots on goal. It was the first win of the season for Jakaitis in five appearances. The win halted a two game losing skid by the ‘Rays. Jakaitis is coming off a major injury and a long layoff after having earned ECHL goal tender of the year honors last season with Gwinnett.
Dee set the pace at the 12:28 mark of the opening period using a rising wrist shot from the top of the far side circle to beat Florida net minder John Muse. Helpers were credited to forward Matt Beca and defenseman Ryan Turek. The 1-0 lead lasted until 1:38 of period two when Florida’s Brayden Irwin (Alex Hutchings and Leigh Salters) picked up the first of the two goals he scored for Florida in the game.
Vidmar hammered home a power play goal to give the home team a 2-1 lead 3:37 into period two as defenseman Kevin Quick got the lone assist. It was Vidmar’s second goal of the season.   Less than three minutes later the score was tied again at 2-2 as Irwin picked up his eighth goal of the season. Hutchings and Salters repeated their first goal helpers. Irwin narrowly missed a hat trick and tying near the end of the game on what looked to be an almost certain goal.  
The game winner at 15:06 of the second period came off the hot stick of Langkow. The forward now has 11 goals in the campaign, nine with the Stingrays after joining them in a November trade. Langow’s game winner was his fourth goal in his last three games.
Jakaitis made 13 of his 26 saves in the third period as the Everblades pushed hard to get the equalizer. It never came based on a solid defensive effort, Jakaitis’ work in net plus a little luck on the aforementioned miss by Irwin.   
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