North Charleston, SC – The Adirondack Thunder saw their season end in heartbreak as they dropped a double-overtime decision to the South Carolina Stingrays in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.
Adirondack opened the scoring back in the first period as Ben Johnson found the back of the net from long range less than five minutes into the game. Johnson took a pass up ice from Greg Wolfe and wired a wrist shot that deflected off of a South Carolina stick and past Dekanich for his third goal of the series. Wolfe and Michael Kirkpatrick collected the assists on the play, the third straight game Wolfe has collected a point.
It took the Stingrays just 36 seconds to answer, however, as they knotted the score at one at the 5:19 mark of the opening period. In the shift immediately following Adirondack’s goal, Autsin Fyten fired a shot from the top of the right circle that deflected off the post and sat in the crease, but David Pacan followed up on the play and tapped the puck home for his first goal of the playoffs. Fyten and forward Caleb Herbert collected the helpers on the play, the 12th point in as many games for Herbert during the 2016 playoffs.
Inside the final minute of play in the second period, Adirondack capitalized with the man advantage to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission. After Ryan Lomberg won a battle low in the offensive zone, the puck skittered to Peter MacArthur, who fired across the ice to Mitchell Heard, who one-timed it past Dekanich for the goal. The tally for Heard was his fifth of the postseason, while MacArthur was credited with the lone assist, his seventh assist of the playoffs.
South Carolina tied the game at two just shy of the halfway point of the third period of play. Off of an offensive zone draw, the puck found the stick of defenseman Bobby Shea, who put a wrist shot on net that just squeezed by Appleby for his first goal of the playoffs. Center Kelly Zajac, who won the faceoff, collected the lone assist on the play, his fourth over the past two games.
After more than 35 minutes of overtime came and went without a goal, the Stingrays finally ended the marathon game with Joe Devin’s ninth goal of the postseason. After a wacky bounce of the end-board, the puck ricocheted right into the path of Devin, who swatted it home on the backhand for the series-clinching goal. Bobby Shea collected the only assist on the play, his second point of the night.
With the overtime loss, the Thunder’s season ends in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in their inaugural season of play. The Stingrays move on to the Eastern Conference Finals, beginning this weekend against the Wheeling Nailers.