NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - Goaltender Ryan Zapolski was a free agent earlier this season, but is quickly taking the ECHL by storm.
The South Carolina Stingrays' backstop denied all 23 shots he faced, earning his third shutout of the season, while improving to 12-5 on the campaign. His club gave him three goals of offense to work with, as South Carolina halted the Wheeling Nailers' eight-game point streak with a 3-0 victory.
After a scoreless first period, the Stingrays broke the deadlock at the 14:34 mark of the middle frame. Wheeling coughed the puck up in neutral ice, allowing Tyler McNeely to gain possession for South Carolina. McNeely sent a pass to his right, leading Justin Courtnall into the right circle, where he wristed a shot into the top corner of the goal.
In the third period, South Carolina added to the lead. With 8:05 to go, Andrew Cherniwchan gained the offensive blueline on the left side, before sliding a pass through to Ryan Hayes, who drove to the net on the right side, and redirected the puck into the back of the cage. A little less than five minutes later, the home team popped in an insurance tally, while playing on the man advantage. Ryan Hayes set up Matthew Pistilli, who scored on a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle. That goal capped off a 3-0 win for the Stingrays.
Peter Delmas suffered his first regulation loss of the season, despite making 20 saves on 23 shots for the Nailers.
The Nailers will return home on Monday for a 5:00 game against the Elmira Jackals.
Wheeling0 0 0 - 0
South Carolina0 1 2 - 3
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Stejskal Whl (tripping), 2:03; Quick Sc (delay of game), 18:40.
2nd Period-1, South Carolina, Courtnall 2 (McNeely), 14:34. Penalties-Higgins Whl (interference on the goalkeeper), 6:41; Higgins Whl (high-sticking), 11:43; Langkow Sc (holding the stick), 12:08.
3rd Period-2, South Carolina, Hayes 5 (Cherniwchan, Langkow), 11:07. 3, South Carolina, Pistilli 8 (Hayes), 15:48 (PP). Penalties-Hansen Whl (hooking), 2:42; Leveille Whl (closing hand on puck), 14:02.
Shots on Goal-Wheeling 6-8-9-23. South Carolina 9-7-7-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Wheeling 0 / 2; South Carolina 1 / 5.
Goalies-Wheeling, Delmas 4-1-0-1 (23 shots-20 saves). South Carolina, Zapolski 12-5-0-0 (23 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Tyler Puddifant (28).
Linesmen-Kyle DeMaggio (57), Mike Sheehan (90).