By John Devlin
Special to The State
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Reid Cashman’s goal at 2:27 of overtime gave the Columbia Inferno a 3-2 victory against South Carolina Saturday night at the Carolina Coliseum, forcing a decisive fifth game in the ECHL South Division championship series.
Monday’s game will be in North Charleston.
“In overtime, a shot’s the best play, so I just wanted to get the puck around the net,” said Cashman, who has three goals and eight assists in the playoffs. “To tell you the truth, I have no idea how it went in.”
The shot hit Stingrays goalie Josh Johnson’s pads, and fell to his feet. Johnson, however, lost sight of the puck, and appeared to knock the puck over the goal line with his own skates.
Cashman set up Daniel Sparre’s game-tying goal with 1:09 remaining in regulation, passing the puck from the left side to the right post where Sparre was in position to stuff in it.
“Sparre made the play,” Cashman said. “He got the puck to me in the first place, and I sent it right back. I got lucky because the puck got tipped around some, but a puck always seems to find the stick of a goal scorer. And Sparre is a goal scorer.”
“You’d almost have to be thinking that our season was about to be over at that point,” Columbia coach Troy Mann said. “But Sparre got us off the hook with another huge goal and we’re still in the running. Anything can happen in the last game of a series, and we’ve been in this position before and found a way to advance.”
Jeff Miles scored Columbia’s first goal on a third-period power play.
South Carolina outshot the Inferno 32-17, but could not solve Ford enough to close out the series. The Columbia goalie is 8-4 in the playoffs and has made 404 saves, by far the highest total in the league.
“It helps when you have a goalie standing on his head the way Todd has in the playoffs,” said Mann. “He gives a chance to win, and we keep finding ways to win games because of it.”