Eagles Hold 2-0 Series Lead Over Stingrays

Posted May 29, 2017

The South Carolina penalty kill, a stalwart through the early part of the playoffs, faltered in two games at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado.

The Colorado Eagles’ power-play scored twice tonight, and got the game-winner in game one, giving Colorado a 3-2 win for a 2-0 series lead in the Kelly Cup Finals.

South Carolina and Colorado will now move the series to the North Charleston Coliseum for games three and four. If the Stingrays win either of those games, game five will also be in South Carolina.

Colorado went 2-for-5 on the man-advantage, while South Carolina went 1-for-4.

Parker Milner made 26 saves on 29 shots in the loss, while Lukas Hafner made 25 saves on 27 shots from South Carolina. Hafner made all 12 saves in the third period to seal the win.

Rob Flick, the Stingrays’ leading scorer in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, had zero shots on goal. The Eagles’ defense locked in on him to make sure he could not jump-start the Stingrays’ offense

Steven McParland scored in much the same way as he did last night, cashing in on a rebound to give the Stingrays an early lead. Joey Leach put the initial shot on after the South Carolina power play expired.

Colorado got two against the Stingrays early to start the second. Matt Garbowsky tipped Sergei Boikov’s shot on the power play for his fifth of the playoffs, followed shortly afterward by Sean Zimmerman’s second after a turnover deep in the South Carolina zone.

Three Eagles were below the blue line to force Andrew Cherniwchan into a bad pass leading to Zimmerman’s goal.

South Carolina’s penalty kill made their biggest positive contribution of the night when both Marcus Perrier and Wade Epp went off for minors four seconds apart in the second period.

With two of their anchors gone, Scott Tanski came in and made three blocks without a stick in his time on ice. The Rays finished the kill when Colorado’s Alex Belzile took a tripping minor.

Garbowsky took a cross-checking minor late in the second period, allowing Steven Weinstein to tie the game with his first of the playoffs.

Hafner stopped Derek Arnold, but his defenesman Boikov shoved Olivier Archambault down in the crease. With Hafner falling back, Weinstein stepped into the rebound for his first Kelly Cup Playoffs goal since he played for the Cincinnati Cyclones last year.

South Carolina could not kill off Joey Leach’s high-stick midway through the third. Sean St-Amant, after Casey Pierro-Zabotel drew Marcus Perrier out of position to block the pass, finished a quick passing play for his fifth of the playoffs.

With Milner pulled for the extra skater for 60 seconds, the Stingrays could not get a single shot past the Eagles.

Game three from North Charleston will be next Sunday, June 4.