The Gwinnett Gladiators made a trip to North Charleston, South Carolina to meet the Stingrays in an ECHL South Division contest Tuesday night and, despite out-shooting the Stingrays 34-20, came away with a 3-1 loss.
South Carolina (19-19-1-3) drew first blood when Robby Dee lit the lamp at 11:35 of the first period while on the power play for his sixth goal of the season. Luka Vidmar and Phil Mangan got the helpers. Andrew Cherniwchan finished a 3-on-2 break with Matt Beca and Dee only 14 seconds later for his sixth goal of the season. The first intermission came with Gwinnett (25-13-1-1) trailing 2-0.
The Stingrays extended their lead to three goals at 3:05 of the middle period when Beca slipped the puck between the legs of Gwinnett goalie and league All-Star Mike Lee (L, 17 saves on 20 shots) from the right-wing circle. Scooter Vaughan and Cherniwchan earned assists. After 40 minutes of hockey the Gladiators were down 3-0.
Jason Clark got Gwinnett on the board when he put a rebound past South Carolina netminder and former Gladiator Jeff Jakaitis at the 9:36 mark of the final period. The goal was the first of the season for Clark and got the Glads to within two, but they could draw closer. Marietta native Doug Jones picked up the assist, and now has a helper in five straight games.
Jakaitis (W, 13-7-0-0) made 33 saves in the South Carolina victory, his first against his former club. He also lowered his already league leading GAA to 1.86. Lee (L, 12-10-1-0) had his three-game win streak stopped in taking the loss for Gwinnett. Lee has the second best GAA (2.09).
Gwinnett was 0-for-3 on the power play for the night, while South Carolina was 1-for-3. The Glads totaled 26 penalty minutes on 5 infractions, while the Rays had only 6 minutes on 3 infractions.
First Star: SC - 28 Jeff Jakaitis (33 saves)
Second Star: SC - 37 Matt Beca (1 goal, 1 assist)
Third Star: SC - 13 Andrew Cherniwchan (1 goal, 1 asssit)
The Gladiators are the ECHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League and play home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. The ECHL is the Premier "AA" League.