The Jacksonville Icemen beat the South Carolina Stingrays 4-2 in front of a sold-out crowd of nearly 9,000 people at Veterans Memorial Arena in the first game of the 2018-19 season, presented by Community First Credit Union. The first period was physical and all defense, remaining scoreless until South Carolina’s Kevin McKernan put the Stingrays on the board at 17:12, sending the Icemen into the locker room down 0-1. Jacksonville evened the score in the second with a power play goal from Blake Kessel, assisted by Everett Clark and Wacey Rabbit. Tied 1-1 going into the third, South Carolina wasted no time taking back the lead when Jake Kamrass buried a pass from Joey Leach and Andrew Cherniwchan at 0:34. Jacksonville answered back with a goal from Garet Hunt by way of Matt Ustaski and Cody Fowlie. South Carolina had a chance to regain the lead on a power play, but instead Cody Fowlie found the back of the net with a shorthanded goal assisted by goaltender Mikhail Berdin to go up 3-2. Alexis D’Aoust put the Icemen up 4-2 on a goal assisted by Jake Randolph and Jack Glover.
In his ECHL debut, Mikhail Berdin made 24 saves for the Icemen, adding an assist and nearly a goal. It would have been his second goal in as many years after scoring an empty netter in the USHL for Sioux Falls last season. The Icemen return to Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m.