Mitchell, Gratton Score in 2-0 Victory Over Solar Bears
By: Stingrays Media
Goaltender Parker Milner made 26 saves and the South Carolina Stingrays held the Orlando Solar Bears to just three shots in the third period during a 2-0 shutout victory in Game 1 of the South Division Semifinals Wednesday night at the Amway Center. The Stingrays lead the best-of-seven series 1-0.
Forward Mason Mitchell scored the only even-strength goal of the game in the second period, while forward Josh Gratton added a shorthanded empty-net goal in the final minute of the third to seal the win for South Carolina.
After a scoreless first in which Orlando outshot SC 15-3, the Rays allowed just 11 attempts on goal in the final 40 minutes of the contest.
Mitchell put South Carolina ahead at 13:09 of the middle period, scoring the first goal of the ECHL's postseason to make it 1-0 on a wrist shot under the glove of Orlando goaltender Connor Ingram off a pass by Cam Askew.
The Stingrays held on to that advantage until the final minutes but put themselves in a hairy situation when captain Joey Leach took a penalty for boarding at 18:12 of the third. While on the penalty kill the Solar Bears pulled Ingram for an extra attacker. But Gratton stole the puck in the Orlando zone and slipped it into the empty net to seal the victory for SC.
Ingram suffered the loss despite making 26 saves for the Solar Bears. Neither team was able to find the back of the net on the power play in the game with Orlando finishing 0-for-8 and SC ending at 0-for-6.
The two teams will continue their series with Game 2 on Friday night at the Amway Center at 7 p.m. South Carolina returns home to North Charleston for Game 3 next Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.
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