Stingrays riding late season surge Club rides success of Zapolski in net

NORTH CHARLESTON-SC-The South Carolina Stingrays’ swept their weekend series against the Greenville Road Warriors with a 3-2 shootout win at the North Charleston Coliseum Sunday afternoon. The matinee win followed wins on Friday and Saturday nights also against Greenville. The ‘Rays have now earned points (11-0-2) in their last 13 home games.

Sunday afternoon’s win before 3,563 has the team (34-24—7)-75 points firmly in sixth place in the Eastern Conference of the ECHL. Over the weekend the two teams drew over 10,000 fans.

The Stingrays who flounSC Stingrays logodered early in the season continue to ride the success of goaltender Ryan Zapolski who continues to sparkle.  The rookie picked up all three wins this weekend. He leads the ECHL with 1.62 goals against average and a 0.942 save percentage. His record stands at 22-9-2 for the season.

In Sunday’s matchup forwards Patrick Gaul and Chris Langkow got the home team off to a 2-0 lead with scores in the first and second periods. The Road Warrior however fought back in the middle stanza. Just seconds after Langkow doubled South Carolina’s lead in the first minute of period two, forward Jordie Johnston answered for Greenville at the 1:08 mark.

The Road Warriors then used the only power play goal of the game to tie the game as Marc-Olivier Vallerand scored his 20th goal of the season. The 2-2 tie lasted for the balance of regulation time and through five minutes of overtime. Greenville finished 1-3 on the power play while the locals went scoreless on all five of their power play opportunities.

Zapolsky stopped all but one of the five shooters for Greenville in the shootout while Andrew Cherniwchan and Tyler Johnson beat losing goal tender Scott Stajcer for the win.

The Rays now travel to Florida for three straight games against the EverBlades. The two teams are deadlocked in the standings with 75 points each although Florida has two games in hand on the schedule. Both South Carolina and Florida trail division leading Gwinnett by just two points in the race for first place in the South Division of the conference.

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