(PR) North Charleston, SC – Behind two goals from Rob Ricci spaced 5:46 apart in the second period, South Carolina erased Trenton’s 2-1 lead en route to the Stingrays’ second 3-2 victory over Trenton this season. The win was South Carolina’s fourth straight, and it boosts the Stingrays to 19-14-1-1. Having lost three of their last five, the Devils first loss of 2011 drops their record to 13-15-0-2.
After Dylan Yeo put South Carolina ahead, 1-0, by opening the scoring with an even-strength tally 11:22 into the game, Jeff Prough tied the score by beating Todd Ford with a deflection in the first period’s final 28 seconds. Ryan Hayes and Dave Leaderer earned helpers as the late-period strike was Prough’s sixth power-play marker of the season.
Dan Charleston put Trenton ahead, 2-1, by burying a wrist-shot goal, 3:05 into the second period, on a play started by Jeff Prough in the neutral zone. Justin Coutu also drew an assist on Charleston’s go-ahead score, which was the Oak Forest, Illinois native’s second goal with Trenton since returning on loan from AHL-Albany December 26.
Charleston’s goal only gave the Devils the lead momentarily though as 7:27 after Trenton had taken the lead, Rob Ricci deflected a point-shot from Nate Kiser past Dave Caruso to pull the teams into a dead heat. Jordan Pietrus and Samson Mahbod set up Ricci’s eventual game-winner less than five minutes later, after the very same Ricci scored a hat trick in South Carolina’s most recent win, January 4 over the Gwinnett Gladiators.
Trailing 3-2 at the start of the third period, the Devils were searching for their third, third-period, come-from-behind win this season. The third period also started though with Dan Charleston, Dave Leaderer and Tony Zancanaro in the penalty box as the Devils and Stingrays engaged in a multi-player melee just after the second period ended.
After being held to few scoring chances in the third period, the Devils’ best comeback opportunity in the final frame came with the team shorthanded, after Trenton was flagged for a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty with 1:04 remaining. The chance came in the form of a two-on-one, with Jeff Prough and Tony Zancanaro coming in on Todd Ford. Having scored earlier in the contest, Prough elected to shoot, but was stopped by what was perhaps Ford’s best save of the night and Zancanaro couldn’t get to the rebound. Finishing with 28 saves, Todd Ford earned the win, while Dave Caruso stopped 27 of 30 shots in taking the loss.
The Devils play the second game of their three-game set in South Carolina Saturday at 7:05 p.m.