South Carolina's Andrew Cherniwchan, right, celebrates his second-period goal as teamate Rob Flick tussles with Manchester's Daniel Doremus during Game 4 of the ECHL Eastern Conference Finals at SNHU Arena in Manchester on Friday night . (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)
Manchester Monarchs' Tyler Sikura battles South Carolina's goalie Parker Milner in the second period during Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 of the Kelly Cup ECHL Playoffs held at SNHU Arena in Manchester on Friday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)
MANCHESTER — Manchester Monarchs coach Rich Seeley said he saw a lot of good things out of his team in Game 4 of the ECHL Eastern Conference Finals Friday night at SNHU Arena. Pulling out a victory was not among them.
The South Carolina Stingrays erased Manchester’s series lead with a 2-1 victory in Game 4 Friday night at SNHU Arena.
The best-of-seven series is tied at 2-2 heading into Game 5 today at 6 p.m. in Manchester.
The Stingrays took a 1-0 lead into the third period thanks to Andrew Cherniwchan’s second-period goal. Rob Flick scored what proved to be the game-winning goal 1:29 into the final period.
Cherniwchan opened the game’s scoring with 8:40 left in the middle frame. The former Providence Bruin redirected Max Nicastro’s slap shot from the right circle past Monarchs goaltender Sam Brittain (21 saves).
Flick, also a former P-Bruin, scored on a wrister from the left circle off a feed from Domenic Monardo to double South Carolina’s advantage.
Quentin Shore scored a rebound goal to put the Monarchs on the board with 6:01 left.
“We were fighting and clawing and finally got one there to make it 2-1,” Seeley said. “We had some opportunities at the end but we couldn’t quite find the back of the net.”
Manchester could not draw even despite spending the final 43.8 seconds on the power play.
South Carolina went 7-for-7 on the penalty kill. The Monarchs had five power-play opportunities over the first two periods.
“Our penalty kill has been our biggest asset this whole playoff (run),” said Stingrays forward Derek Arnold, who played in 95 games for Manchester before being traded to South Carolina earlier this season. “We’ve kind of run into some penalty trouble and our goalie (Parker Milner) and our four guys out there have really bailed us out. Tonight, it was huge again.”
Manchester’s scoring troubles were not due to a lack of pulling the trigger. The Monarchs had a 22-15 shots advantage entering the second intermission and outshot South Carolina 34-23 overall.
“I thought we had tons of chances,” Seeley said. “Getting the first goal makes a big difference. We had plenty of chances to do that. We couldn’t quite capitalize.”
Arguably Manchester’s best scoring chance over the opening 40 minutes came 9:59 into the second period. Monarchs forward Matt Leitner could not jam the puck past Milner (33 saves) from the crease after receiving a behind-the-net pass from Daniel Ciampini.
“We’ve got to keep our heads,” Leitner said. “There’s ups and downs every game, every series so we’ve just got to be ready to answer back — answer the call and be men about it.”