CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Manchester Monarchs couldn’t hold an early third period lead, and fell to the South Carolina Stingrays in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 5-3, Monday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Monarchs (10-5) return home to SNHU Arena for the remainder of the series against the Stingrays (9-5) up two games to one.
Manchester opened the scoring at 10:23 of the first period when Zac Lynch scored on the power play for his 7th goal of the playoffs. Colton Saucerman started the tic-tac-toe passing play from the left half-wall and sent a pass to Daniel Ciampini who was on the right hashmarks. Ciampini then sent the puck across the slot to Lynch who had nothing but an open-net behind diving Stingrays goaltender, Parker Milner, to give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead.
The Stingrays tied the game when Cody Corbett scored his 1st goal of the playoffs just 44 seconds into the second period. A Monarchs turnover led to the puck finding Corbett in the middle of the blue line where he sent a wrister though traffic and past the blocker of Monarchs goaltender, Sam Brittain, to even the score, 1-1.
The Monarchs took the lead back when Ashton Rome scored his 7th goal of the playoffs at 5:21 of the middle frame. Rome grabbed the puck on the right wall, shielded a defender on his way to the slot and sent a backhander through bodies and past Milner to put the Monarchs back on top, 2-1.
South Carolina got back to even when Joey Leach netted his 1st goal of the playoffs at 8:00 of the second period. Leach received a pass at the left point from Corbett and threw a seeing-eye-wrister past the blocker of a screened Brittain, to tie the score, 2-2.
Manchester went up, 3-2, when Daniel Ciampini scored his 3rd goal of the playoffs at 1:29 of the third period while on the power play. Ciampini took a pass from Matt Leitner who was behind the cage to the left of Milner, where he stuffed home a shot past the glove of Milner, to give the Monarchs the lead back.
The Stingrays evened the score again when Olivier Archambault scored a shorthanded tally at 4:11 of the third period. Kelly Zajac carried the puck into the zone on the right wing and sent a last-minute pass to Archambault who was crashing the net on a 2-on-1, where he tipped the puck into the net to make the score, 3-3.
South Carolina took their first lead of the series when Steve McParland scored his 3rd goal of the playoffs at 5:52 of the third period. McParland found the loose puck in the painted area after Brittain couldn’t hold a shot off the stick of Max Nicastro, and pushed the puck into the open net to put the Stingrays up, 4-3.
The Stingrays added to their lead when Rob Flick potted his 9th goal of the playoffs at 14:02 of the final frame. Flick took a pass out of the trapezoid by Andrew Cherniwchan and one-timed a shot from the left hash-marks past the blocker of Brittain, to make the score, 5-3, South Carolina.
The Monarchs pulled Brittain with 2:21 remaining in the third period, and despite two minutes of heavy pressure, could not solve Milner and fell, 5-3.
The Monarchs return to SNHU Arena ice Friday, May 19 (7 p.m.) when they host the South Carolina Stingrays for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
- Colton Saucerman played in his 30th professional playoff game
- Zac Lynch scored for the second-consecutive game
- Ashton Rome scored the 10th playoff goal of his career
- Lynch was unsuccessful on a penalty shot awarded at 15:41 of the 1st period