NORTH CHARLESTON, SC. - The South Carolina Stingrays (7-7-1-0) scored five unanswered goals in the third period to win the first meeting of the season against the Norfolk Admirals (2-11-4-0), 5-1 on Saturday.
No scoring would come in the contest until the final frame, when the Admirals actually jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to Brodie Dupont. Gabriel Verpaelst found Aaron Harstad with a ton of time and space in the offensive zone and the Stevens Point, Wisconsin native blistered a pass off of the tape of Dupont and past Parker Milner. It would be the only puck all night that got by Milner, who was largely impressive while totaling 26 saves, including a dazzling second period.
Unfortunately the Admirals lone strike seemingly enraged the South Carolina offense as they would explode for five in the next 13 minutes. Zach Pochiro attempted to clear the puck from behind his own net but instead it caught the outside of the cage and landed right in the lap of Steve McParland, who then buried it past Laurikainen to tie the game at 1-1.
The second South Carolina goal came from their captain, Joe Devin, who was just returned after a stint with AHL San Antonio. Patrick Gaul won an attacking zone faceoff to the right of the Admirals Finnish netminder and within two seconds the red light flickered. Devin's wrister caught a piece of John Dunbar's stick, just twisting the puck enough for Laurikainen not to track it and the Stingrays took a 2-1 lead.
63 seconds following Devin's goal, Scott Tanski joined the party for the home team. The forward picked the puck up in the neutral zone, turned on his jets and rushed all the way around the outside of the zone, behind the Admirals net and then tucked it by Laurikainen who wasn't quick enough ranging from post-to-post.
After another minute and a half went by it became 4-1 South Carolina. With swift transition from their own end the Stingrays created an odd-man rush and Kelly Zajac simply dished the puck to his left wing, where Steve Weinstein picked his spot between the legs of the Admirals goalie.
With time winding down and a man advantage, Rod Aldoff attempted to generate some sort of offense by pulling Laurikainen in favor of the extra attacker. Par the course of the third though, the puck wound up in the Admirals empty net, this one courtesy of Alex Gacek. That would be the fifth unanswered and final dagger in the Admirals coffin, giving the 'Rays a 5-1 win.
The Admirals conclude the Thanksgiving trip 0-2-1-0 and will now return to Norfolk Scope for a set against the Reading Royals. Tickets for the games are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com as well as at the Norfolk Scope box office. For more information on the team, be sure to stay tuned on NorfolkAdmirals.com, as well as following and liking the team on all major social media platforms.