NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Sam Brittain made 44 saves and back-stopped the Manchester Monarchs past the South Carolina Stingrays, 4-3, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Monarchs (10-4) took a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Stingrays (8-5) and play Game 3 on Monday night.
Manchester opened the scoring when Zac Lynch potted his 6th goal of the post-season at 7:35 of the opening period. Lynch took a pass from Matt Leitner in his own zone and carried the puck into the Stingrays end of the ice. After crossing the blue line, Lynch curled the puck to the top of the right circle and sent a wrister through the legs of a Rays defender and past the glove of South Carolina netminder, Parker Milner, to put the Monarchs up, 1-0.
The Monarchs made the score, 2-0, when Quentin Shore netted his 5th goal of the playoffs at 11:00 of the first period. Thomas Schemitsch sent a shot on Milner that the South Carolina goaltender stopped, but he left a juicy rebound on the left dot that Shore fired into the net to double the Monarchs lead.
Manchester added to its advantage when Craig Wyszomirski scored his 2nd goal of the playoffs at 8:56 of the middle frame. Wyszomirski received a pass from Ashton Rome at the left point and sent a slapper through the body of Milner, to make the score, 3-0, Monarchs.
The Stingrays got on the board at 14:34 of the second stanza when Marcus Perrier scored his 1st goal of the playoffs. Perrier was at the left point when a Monarchs turnover put the puck on his stick, and the Stingrays defenseman sent a slap shot past the glove of Monarchs goaltender, Sam Brittain, to cut the Manchester lead to 3-1.
The Monarchs took their three-goal lead back when Kevin Morris scored his 5th goal of the post-season at 1:06 of the third period while on the power play. Morris brought the puck into the Stingrays zone and sent a soft wrister on net that beat Milner to the blocker side to put the Monarchs up, 4-1.
South Carolina inched closer when Rob Flick scored his 8th goal of the playoffs at 4:13 of the 3rd period. Derek Arnold sent a shot on Brittain from the right dot that trickled through his legs, and Flick was there to punch the puck home to make the score, 4-2, Manchester.
The Stingrays made it a one-goal game when Joe Devin scored his 3rd goal of the playoffs at 8:15 of the final frame while on the power play. Andrew Cherniwchan sent a change-up on frame that Flick pushed along towards Brittain, but the rebound found its way to Devin to the right of the cage who had nothing but twine in front of him to cut the Monarchs lead to 4-3.
South Carolina pulled Milner with 1:36 remaining in the third period and put heavy pressure on Brittain, but the Monarchs netminder would not concede the tying goal.
The Monarchs return to the ice Monday, May 15 (7:05 p.m.) when they face-off against the South Carolina Stingrays in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the North Charleston Coliseum.