Stingrays Fall to Toledo, Lead Series 3-1

Posted May 22, 2015

Photos by @justmestac

Down 4-1 after the first, the Stingrays made a narrowed the gap to one in the second period Friday but still fell, 5-4 to Toledo.

Coming in as a backup, Clay Witt did his best to keep South Carolina in the game. Witt replaced starting goalie Jeff Jakaitis after he allowed four goals in 12:38 and 12 shots.

Behind solid special teams effort, both on the power play and penalty kill, South Carolina looked good heading into the third period. A late penalty kill on Sean Dolan’s trip made the tying goal unlikely, despite great chances after Witt was pulled for the extra skater. A 26 save effort by Neil Conway of Toledo established the backbone for Toledo’s first series win.

Toledo looked well in control of every aspect of the game after 20 minutes despite South Carolina scoring first on a power play goal by Stingrays captain Derek Rowe. The Walleye answered with four goals of their own to chase Jakaitis from the crease. Troy Schwab provided the offensive catalyst for Toledo off his two goals and one assist in the first period. Captain Rowe would answer in the second with one more goal and an assist on Michal Cajkovsky‘s power play goal. Wayne Simpson continued his playoff dominance with three assists of his own as the Stingrays pulled within one.

In the last minute of the third, the Stingrays played six-on-five deep in Toledo’s zone, hoping for that long elusive tying goal. Chances from the faceoff circles, the blue line, even from point blank were no match for the gloves and pads of Conway. Just like the previous three games, the Stingrays and Walleye played to a one goal differential.

For now, the Walleye have staved off elimination from the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Game 5, however, will stay in North Charleston. Stingrays fans can start buying tickets online starting at 10:00 AM tomorrow (May 23). The Coliseum seats over 10,000 fans; only 4,569 attended tonight’s game. If Stingrays Nation can pack the house tomorrow night, there is no reason the series should go back to the Huntington Center in Toledo.

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