ESTERO - Daniel Koger scored in the fifth round of the overtime shootout to help give the South Carolina Stingrays a 5-4 victory over the Florida Everblades Wednesday night at Germain Arena. The overtime win ties South Carolina with Florida for first place in the South Division.
The Everblades refused to end the first period without a goal. Nearly 19 minutes into the contest, Alex Hutchings took a shot from the top right of the crease, but was denied by Stingrays goaltender Adam Morrison. Rookie Corey Trivino received the rebound and took a shot from the top left of the crease to secure a goal for the 'Blades and the first goal of his professional career.
South Carolina got on the board about a minute into the second period. Mike Ulrich fed a pass to Matthew Pistilli who took a shot from the slot and fired the puck past Everblades goaltender John Muse tying the game at one.
About eight minutes later, the 'Blades took advantage of the power play, as Hutchings passed the puck into the slot to a waiting Tommi Kivisto. Kivisto rifled the shot past Morrison and scored his first goal of the season to bring the score to 2-1.
The Stingrays responded as Pistilli looked for a wrap around shot, but passed the puck off to Tyler McNeely. Muse bit on the wrap around attempt leaving the net open. McNeely took the feed in the slot and fired a shot into the open net to even the score at two after 40 minutes played.
The South Carolina was determined to not keep the game tied for long. Four minutes into the third period, Tyler Randell's slap shot from the high slot flew past Muse and raised the score to 3-2. Three minutes later the Stingrays attacked again as Shawn Weller crashed the net and slid the puck past an unaware Muse to extend the Rays lead to 4-2 with nearly 13 minutes remaining.
However, the 'Blades didn't lose their focus, and twice took advantage of the power play. . At 13:55 of the period, Mathieu Roy picked up a rebound after Matt Marquardt shot the puck from the right circle. Roy forced the puck past Morrison to bring his team within one.
Less then three minutes later, and the 'Blades once again on the power play, Justin Shugg one-timed a shot from the left circle and fired the puck past Morrison's glove bringing the score to 4-4 and, sending the game into overtime.
Both teams fought for a win in overtime, but the game would have to be decided in the shootout. Daniel Koger scored the final goal of the game to lift the Stingrays over the 'Blades and push the final score to 5-4.
The same two teams meet again at 7:30 p.m. at Germain Arena on Friday, Oct. 26.