NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Elmira Jackals struck for the first goal but couldn't produce more on Friday night against the Eastern Conference's top defense. The Jackals fell by a 4-1 score to the South Carolina Stingrays at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Click here for tonight's box score.
Jordan Pietrus had a big night for himself to start this southern trip thanks to a pair of goals on Wednesday night in Gwinnett. Tonight, against the team he played for as a rookie in 2010-11, Pietrus struck for his 15th goal 3:51 into the game to stake the Jackals to a 1-0 lead. The third-year Jackals swiped away an errant Stingrays outlet pass and snapped the Jackals' first shot of the game past Allen York. A former Jackal evened the score in short order with Jack Downing sneaking a backhander past Chris Driedger. That goal came only 1:41 on the heels of Pietrus' score. Later, thanks to a double-minor to Mike Vaskivuo for high-sticking, South Carolina's Wayne Simpson put the home team in front for the first time with a power play goal at 16:51. The 'Rays generated seven power play shots on two opportunities in the first and outshot the Jackals 15-8 in the frame.
South Carolina came out with a surge of momentum and carried the play over the first few minutes. Driedger withstood the early onslaught and kept the Jackals within one. Late in the period, though, a turnover at the blueline proved costly for the Jackals. Nick Larson overtook the puck after an errant pass clanged off the wall and raced up ice on a 3-on-1. Larson made it happen on his own as he trucked up ice and beat Driedger with a low wrist shot to push the lead to two. It was Larson's 10th of the season and came with just 1:13 left in the frame.
Elmira ratcheted up the pressure in the third period and came away with two glorious chances to close the gap late in the third. After taking a stretch pass up ice on a breakaway Vaskivuo was hauled down from behind but earned a penalty shot. He used his patented curling approach to try to net his second penalty shot goal of the season but York make a sprawling pad save to deny the bid. York got a misconduct penalty after making the save and the Jackals nearly jammed home a rebound on the ensuing power play but couldn't finish off the flurry. Igor Gongalsky added an empty-net goal in the waning moments to set the final score.
Driedger had the busiest night of his young pro career and turned in 41 saves. Elmira ended the night 4-for-5 on the power play and 0-for-3 on the power play.
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