ELMIRA, N.Y. - March 1, 2014 - The Elmira Jackals took the Eastern Conference's top team to the wire on Saturday night at First Arena but fell just shy and lost a shootout decision by a 2-1 final. The loss dropped Elmira to 20-27-7 on the season.
Click here for tonight's box score.
Click here for tonight's postgame comments.
For the second game in a row the Jackals got off to a quick start and opened the scoring. Danny Hobbs, who came into the game with 15 points in his last 14 outings with the Jackals, scored on Elmria's first shot of the game 1:25 into the contest. Dane Walters worked a pass to Artem Demkov behind the net and Demkov's quick centering feed set up Hobbs' 16th of the year. Elmira's lead lasted just over 11 minutes before South Carolina's Nick Larson tied the score with a wrist shot from the right-wing circle. Neil Conway couldn't get a blocker on it and Larson picked up his fifth of the year.
South Carolina played its most dominant period of the game in the second which resulted in an 11-5 shot advantage over the Jackals. Conway was a rock for the Jackals and turned away each bid to ensure the game remained tied. South Carolina's Allen York wasn't as busy as Conway in the second but was equally effective in turning away each of Elmira's attempts to send the game into the third still tied.
Both goaltenders remained dialed in during the final frame and combined for 21 saves. Thirteen belonged to Conway and eight to York. The Jackals' toughest test came less than a minute into the frame when South Carolina was awarded its fourth power play of the night. The 'Rays launched four shots on Conway during the two-minute advantage but nothing crossed the line and, eventually, the game moved to overtime to decide a winner.
Elmira's offense was at its most effective in the four-on-four session and sent eight shots York's way in the five minutes of sudden-death hockey. Conway had to turn away three bids, including a 2-on-1 between Larson and Jack Downing, to move the proceedings to a shootout.
South Carolina's first three shooters scored while the Jackals received markers from Jordan Pietrus and Jake Trask in the first three innings. Conway stopped the 'Rays' next two attempts while Mike Vaskivuo netted his second shootout goal in the top of the fifth to send it to a sudden-death shootout. Larson scored in the bottom of the sixth after York stopped Jakub Culek and the Stingrays finally broke the deadlock.
Conway stopped 39 of 40 shots through regulation and overtime then went 2-for-6 in the shootout. Elmira ended the night 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 0-for-2 on the power play.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals return to home ice on Sunday, March 2 to take on the South Carolina Stingrays at 4:05 p.m. The Jackals will host their traditional Sunday Postgame Skate With the Jackals which is free to all ticket holders. Skates are available to rent from the Ice Pavilion if you don't have a pair of your own. 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.