North Charleston, S.C. – Forward Joe Devin scored the game-winning goal and game-tying marker in the third period as the South Carolina Stingrays rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Reading Royals 3-2 in Game 7 of the East Division Semifinals at the North Charleston Coliseum Wednesday night. The Stingrays win the best-of-seven series 4-3 and will meet the Florida Everblades in the East Division Finals.
The Stingrays and Royals skated a scoreless first period, but the Stingrays controlled a majority of the scoring chances and outshot the Royals 10-3.
In the second period, the Stingrays continued to pressure, but the Royals capitalized on two bounces to take a 2-0 lead to the intermission. Defenseman Jordan Heywood lost control of the puck, slipped past the defense and regained possession to lift a backhanded shot over the blocker of Stingrays netminder Jeff Jakaitis at 3:25. Late in the frame, Royals forward Ryan Cruthers’ shot raced past the right post of Jakaitis, bounced off the back boards and found the stick of forward David Marshall for his fifth goal of the postseason at 18:53.
Stingrays forward Derek DeBlois pulled the contest within one 1:30 into the third period pushing a rebound under Royals goalie Connor Knapp. Defenseman Drew MacKenzie and forward Wayne Simpson earned assists. With Royals defenseman Mike Marcou in the penalty box for delay of game, forward Joe Devin capitalized on the power play at 13:32 to tie the contest redirecting a shot from defenseman Michal Cajkovsky. Simpson added the second assist. Devin completed the comeback with 3:29 remaining, lifting in his team-leading sixth goal of the playoffs with help from defenseman Marcus Perrier and forward Rob Bellamy. The Stingrays finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play while the Royals went 0-for-2.