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Savannah Ghost Pirates

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Savannah Shows Fight But Comes Up Short in Overtime

Savannah Shows Fight But Comes Up Short in Overtime

SAVANNAH, Ga. – For a team that has gone 1-8-1-0 in the month of December prior to their game versus South Carolina Thursday, Savannah showed that they still have plenty of fight for each other as a team. Savannah had both their fair share of sloppy and sharp plays on the night, but even in the 3-2 overtime loss, the Ghost Pirates never truly seemed out of their matchup with the Stingrays.

The difference in this matchup was two massive individual efforts from number 21 of the Stingrays, Carter Turnbull. The first of those two efforts came 11:25 into the first, only a second after South Carolina’s first power play of the night expired. Turnbull took a sudden cut into the slot with the puck before going forehand and beating Isaiah Saville blocker side in order to break open the scoring.

Immediately following the goal, one of Savannah’s newest recruits and former Stingray, Nico Blachman, dropped his gloves directly off the faceoff to take on Sean Gulka in what ended up being a colossus of a fight that lasted almost an entire minute. 

Towards the end of the first, the Ghost Pirates had a couple of miscues in the neutral zone that threatened to end any pressure they were hoping to build, but Nolan Valleau caught the puck in the neutral zone and entered into the Stingrays’ defensive zone with a purpose. Valleau tossed the puck to the center of the net for Alex Swetlikoff, and although the puck slipped past Swetlikoff, Connor Corcoran scooped the loose puck before burying it into the back side of the net. The shot being available as Swetlikoff’s presence net side took pressure away and allowed Corcoran an open look.

In the second period some nervous plays began to encroach upon Savannah’s skaters, most notably past the midpoint of the second as Savannah gave up three quick turnovers in succession, which led to bench boss Rick Bennett calling a timeout to instill some confidence in his players. 

Settling down, Savannah ended that period with multiple extended offensive pressures that each had their own fair shake of breaking the goal line, but South Carolina’s netminder Clay Stevenson stood on his head during those sequences to bail out his team.

After the period wound to an end both Savannah and South Carolina proved once more that they had no love lost amongst each other’s respective squads as multiple players of each team scrummed once more. Gulka and Blachman were both ejected from the game at this point for going at each other another time, and Savannah would end up having to begin the third period on the penalty kill.

The hero once again for South Carolina would come in the form of another individual effort from Turnbull 4:56 into the third as he outskated Brandon Estes on his way to the net and beat out Saville once more.

Savannah had multiple chances to tie the game past that point, but it was not until a power play with 2:35 left in the period that they were able to do so. In a risky move by Coach Bennett, he elected to start the faceoff with Saville on the bench and he was rewarded for his ingenuity as Corcoran looked to net his second of the night on a one-timer with the two-man advantage. A closer look showed the actual goal coming from a Brent Pedersen deflection off of that one timer.

The pace of play in the overtime frame was mostly controlled by South Carolina as they looked to end this game. Saville had other plans for them instead and would not give up a goal until late into the frame when he was faced with a plethora of skaters on the overtime power play. 

As a whole the Savannah club looked much sharper tonight. Even though they drop to 1-8-2-0 in the month of December, seeing that this club still fights for each other until the bitter end should bring optimism to their fan base. This time of the year, it would have been easy for Savannah, who were on a six-game losing skid, to bury their heads and just try to get to the Christmas break. Instead, this team continues to show up for each other, and they have another chance to prove that Friday night as the Orlando Solar Bears come to town.

For South Carolina they get to skate off into the Christmas break with one last win, as they will not be back on the ice until the 28th when they take on the Norfolk Admirals.

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