Mark Cooper scored twice and Parker Milner stopped all 30 shots the Florida Everblades (11-6-0-0) sent his way as the South Carolina Stingrays (13-2-0-0) completed a weekend sweep with a 3-0 victory at Hertz Arena on Saturday night.
Milner’s blank slate was his third of the season in just seven appearances, of which he has won all seven. The league’s top netminder lowered his goals-against average to 1.27 and improved his save percentage to 0.948.
South Carolina is now 9-1-0 away from North Charleston this season and remains the top team in the South Division with 26 points. Their 0.867 winning percentage is the best of all ECHL teams.
The Rays got ahead immediately at the start of the contest when Cooper made it 1-0 just 16 seconds into the game. A feed through the crease by defenseman Eddie Wittchow made its way to the Toronto native who buried the chance.
Forward Max Novak extended the advantage to 2-0 for South Carolina with just 1:25 to go in the opening period, scoring off a feed by defenseman Kristofers Bindulis. Forward Cole Ully started the attack with a heavy forecheck in the offensive zone and was credited with the second assist on the tally.
Cooper then picked up his second strike of the game in the opening minute of the second, grabbing his own rebound after an initial save by Florida netminder Cam Johnson and putting it past the goaltender for his eighth goal of the season. The lone assist on the Rays’ third and final goal went to forward Mitch Vanderlaan, who lifted the puck in the air from his own zone and saw it fall directly in front of Cooper in the offensive end to set up the scoring chance.
While holding the lead in the third, the Stingrays outshot Florida 8-5 and kept the Everblades off the scoreboard and did not allow any chance of a comeback.
Both teams came up empty on the power play in the contest, with Florida finishing 0-for-2 and SC ending at 0-for-5. Johnson made 21 saves in the game for the Everblades. Florida had the edge in shots on goal, 30-24.
The Stingrays return to the ice on Saturday night at the Amway Center in Orlando to face the Solar Bears at 7 p.m.
The Stingrays return home for five games in December! Tickets for all of South Carolina’s upcoming 2019-20 home contests are on sale now via Ticketmaster.