NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – March 26, 2023 – In a much different game than the one less than 24 hours earlier, the Maine Mariners squeaked out a 2-1 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays on Sunday afternoon at North Charleston Coliseum. Grant Gabriele broke a 1-1 tie late in the third to give the Mariners their first and only lead of the weekend, and the only one they needed to claim the win.
The Stingrays got on the board first at 6:12 of the opening period when former Mariner Michael Kim crashed in and tipped a fluttering puck past a sprawling Michael DiPietro. At 10:37, the Mariners answered back as Mitch Fossier threw it from behind the net, off the top of the goal, off the back of South Carolina netminder Clay Stevenson, and across the goal line. The Mariners also killed off two penalties in the first period, which ended tied at one.
The Mariners played a strong second period and outshot the Stingrays 14-8, but the score remained 1-1 after 40 minutes.
With just under eight minutes remaining in regulation, seconds after the Mariners finished up a power play, Carter Johnson slipped a backhand pass from the side of the net to Grant Gabriele on the back door to break the tie. That was all Michael DiPietro needed, stopping 32 of 33 in the game to earn his 16th victory.
The Mariners completed their southern road trip with a 3-1-0 record, picking up wins in Orlando and Atlanta, and splitting the weekend in South Carolina. Their magic number for clinching a playoff spot fell to seven – a combination of points gained and those not gained by Worcester.