NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Orlando Solar Bears (37-25-4-1) rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period for an incredible 3-2 comeback win over the South Carolina Stingrays (32-31-5-1) on Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum to clinch a spot in the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Patrick Gaul opened the scoring for the Stingrays with a backhand goal at the right circle that beat Connor Ingram at 18:28 of the first period.
Mason Mitchell extended South Carolina’s lead to 2-0 at 5:41 of the second period when Jonathan Charbonneau’s shot struck the post and rebounded to Mitchell at the right circle.
The Solar Bears began the comeback at 1:47 of the third frame as Tayler Thompson snapped a shot from the right circle past the blocker of Parker Milner to get Orlando on the board and give Thompson his seventh of the season.
The Solar Bears then tied the score at 2-2 at 5:21 when Troy Bourke’s shot struck the right post and bounced off of Chris LeBlanc into the net for LeBlanc’s ninth of the season.
Orlando took its first lead of the night at 10:39 when Thompson won a face-off back to Michael Brodzinski, whose shot from the blue line was tipped past Milner by Alex Schoenborn for his ninth of the season.
Ingram picked up the win with 35 saves on 37 shots against; Milner took the loss with 30 stops on 33 shots against.
1) Tayler Thompson – ORL
2) Patrick Gaul – SC
3) Connor Ingram – ORL
• The win ensured Orlando its third consecutive trip to the ECHL postseason, and fifth overall in seven seasons of operation.
• Orlando’s magic number to clinch second place in the South Division – and ensure home ice advantage for the South Division Semifinals – is four points.
• The win marked the sixth time this season that Orlando has achieved victory when trailing after the second period, which is the second-most among all ECHL clubs. The Maine Mariners lead the ECHL with seven wins when trailing after the second frame.
• LeBlanc’s goal gives the forward a two-game goal streak (2g).