ELMIRA, N.Y. - The Elmira Jackals used strong goaltending and timely goals from their power play to claim a 3-2 win over the South Carolina Stingrays on Sunday evening at First Arena. The win moved Elmira to 21-27-7 on the season.
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Click here for tonight's postgame comments.
For the third game in a row the Jackals potted the first goal of the game, but this time they didn't relinquish the early lead. Former Stingray Jordan Pietrus jammed home a rebound at 7:43 for his eighth goal of the year and a 1-0 Elmira lead. Zach McCullough and Mike Vaskivuo picked up assists on Elmira first of two power play goals on the night. Elmira's persistence in the offensive zone allowed it to build up a 10-9 shot advantage over the Stingrays in the first, and Neil Conway's nine saves sent the Jackals into the second ahead by one.
It is statistically impossible for Elmira to have been any more efficient than it was at the start of the second period. The Jackals scored on their first two shots of the period to first build, then reestablish, a two-goal lead. Danny Hobbs created the first scoring opportunity with a wrist shot from the high slot. Artem Demkov was perched in front of goalie Max Strang and deflected Hobbs' shot in for his 14th of the season at 1:28. South Carolina answered back 2:31 later when Paul Rodrigues zipped a shot past Conway from the left-wing circle and cut Elmira's lead to one. Elmira responded in kind 1:36 later when Jean Bourbeau deflected a Kyle Bushee point shot for the Jackals' second power play goal. Demkov earned his second point of the night by winning the faceoff back to Bushee. Elmira was looking for its first three-goal lead of the game on a late power play in the second but Luke Greiner turned a steal into a three-on-one rush and, eventually, a shorthanded goal at 16:56. That left the Jackals' lead at one heading into the third.
South Carolina completely unhitched the wagon and sent its offense into top gear looking for the tying goal. The final shots tally for the period read 16-5 in favor of the visitors, but Conway was at his best when he was at his busiest. He made three stops when Elmira had to kill off the only power play of the third and then held the fort when South Carolina pulled Strang for the extra attacker with one minute remaining.
Conway faced 80 shots in 125 minutes of work against South Carolina this weekend and turned away 77 of them.
The 38-save performance on Sunday gave Conway his seventh win of the season (7-2-2). The Jackals went 2-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals return to home ice on Friday, March 7 to take on the Evansville IceMen. The Jackals are hosting their annual Scout Night. There is a special ticket discount for scouts and all scouts in attendance get a complimentary Jackals patch. Call 607-734-7825 to get your scout group booked. Don't forget that groups of 10 or more who book in advance receive discounts off the box office price and preferred seating based on availability. Call 607-734-7825 to get your group outing booked.