Jacksonville Sports Day

ECHL: Icemen Collect 11,371 Teddy Bears in 4-3 Loss to First Place South Carolina

Photo by Jim Brady/Jacksonville Sports Day

JACKSONVILLE – Tim Harrison netted a hat trick to pace the South Carolina Stingrays to a 4-3 victory over the Jacksonville Icemen at Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday evening. Despite the loss, the Icemen and their fans donated and collected 11,371 stuffed toys in the Annual Teddy Bear Toss Game.

It took just 1:06 for the Icemen to grab the game’s first goal and ignite the furry celebration on Teddy Bear Toss Night. After outpacing a pair of Stingrays defenders, Mike Hedden collected the puck and skated down the slot. Hedden carved a backhand shot high into the net for the tally. The goal sparked over a 11,000 teddy bears to rain down onto the ice surface.

Jacksonville extended its lead to 2-0 at the 12-minute mark of the first period. Following some furious pressure applied by the Icemen, Pierre-Luc Mercier delivered a blistering slapshot that hit off a defender’s leg in front and the clipped off of goaltender Logan Thompson for the goal.

Trailing 2-0, South Carolina settled into the game and registered a goal with less than two minutes remaining in the opening frame. Jonathan Charbonneau delivered a shot from the slot that was stopped by Adam Carlson, but the rebound bounced to the backside of the crease and forward Tim Harrison knocked in the rebound to put the score at 2-1.

Jacksonville was under siege for most of the second period as the Stingrays outshot the Icemen 15-6 in the period. Adam Carlson made several dazzling saves in the period to keep his team out in front. However, the Stingrays finally broke through finding a wide-open Harrison in the slot. Harrison quickly snapped a shot into the Jacksonville net for his second strike of the contest to tie the game to two at the second intermission.

The Stingrays grabbed their first lead early in the third period, when an Icemen defender lost his footing and the puck in the process. Jordan Klimeck grabbed the puck at his own blue line and sailed a pass up the ice to Tim Harrison. Harrison fielded the pass and snapped a shot from right hash mark that ripped into the net for the hat trick goal to give the Rays a 3-2 lead.

The Icemen continued to fight and netted the game-tying goal with six minutes remaining in regulation. Chase Lang circled the net and delivered a pass through the slot to Wacey Rabbit. Rabbit fired a low shot that slipped underneath the pad of Thompson to even the score at 3-3.

South Carolina had one more trick up their sleeve with just over a minute remaining. From the corner, Max Novak centered a pass perfectly to the Dan DeSalvo in the low slot. DeSalvo immediately batted the puck low through Carlson’s five-hole for the game-clinching goal.

The Icemen will enjoy a few days off for the holiday break, before opening a seven-game road stretch on Thursday, Dec. 26 at Orlando. Game time is set for 7 p.m. The next Icemen home game is Jan. 11 against Brampton.

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