NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - Matt Scherer scored a goal and an assist to the help lead the South Carolina Stingrays post their eighth consecutive victory 3-1 Saturday over the Florida Everblades.
Turnovers plagued the Everblades in the opening period. The Stingrays can attribute a majority of their 16 first-period shots to Florida turnovers in their own end. The Rays finally took advantage of one of the turnovers, as a wild scramble in front ended when Joe Pereira batted a loose puck past Florida goaltender Billy Sauer for the game's first goal.
The Blades shook off the turnover bug in the second, leaning on an outstanding effort by team captain Mathieu Roy. Roy entered the zone in a one-on-one battle with Derek Keller. Roy fought off his check at the circle and swung the puck in the low slot area. Roy fired a backhander past Stingrays goaltender Philipp Grubauer to tie the game 1-1 in the middle frame. That score held through the second break.
The Everblades had several power play opportunities in the third period, but the Rays' top-ranked penalty kill unit killed off all of the chances. The Stingrays used the power play to break the at 9:24 of the third. Johann Kroll took the faceoff win at the point and skated to the right wing circle and fired a shot off the pads of Sauer. After the initial save, the puck nestled in the middle of the crease, which allowed Matt Scherer to put the rebound into the net for the go ahead goal to put the score at 2-1.
The Blades continued to battle, but Grubauer made all the saves in the final 10 minutes to keep the score at 2-1. Mike Hamilton scored an empty-net goal with seven seconds remaining in regulation to seal the victory.
Despite an impressive effort, Sauer takes the loss making 41 saves, while Grubauer gets the win stopping 29 of 30 shots.
The teams meet again Sunday afternoon.