The one thing missing for the Mariners in their recent surge has been success on the power play.

On Friday night, they finally broke through after 26 fruitless attempts over a five-game stretch and went on to a 4-1 ECHL victory over the South Carolina Stingrays Friday night before a crowd of 4,316 at Cross Insurance Arena.

“Hopefully that one goal breaks it open for us,” Maine Coach Riley Armstrong said, “and we can get on a little bit of a roll with it in the final stretch here.”

Dwyer Tschantz scored twice and Connor LaCouvee made 36 saves as the Mariners won for the 11th time in 13 games and moved one point closer to second-place Adirondack in the North Division.

The Mariners, whose 14.7 success rate on the power play ranks 23rd in a league of 27 teams, ended their man-advantage drought midway through the first period when Dillan Fox knocked in the rebound of a Josh Couturier shot from the blue line. Greg Chase also earned an assist.

During the power-play drought, the Mariners won 3 of 4 games, and reached overtime in the loss. Once their streak was over Friday night, they broke open the game with a three-goal second period.

Tschantz scored his first goal on another rebound, of a Jon Jutzi slap shot, after Ryan Ferrill drew a faceoff back to Jutzi.

There’s an art to such goals, Armstrong said.

“When you get there and the rebound comes it’s taking your time,” Armstrong said. “It’s not just whacking it. I felt that when we got to the paint, we positioned our body well around the puck to surround it, so we could put the puck in the net.”

Tschantz added a pretty wraparound goal, circling clockwise around the back of the net as Johnny McInnis was drawing a lot of attention at the near post.

Wade Murphy made it 4-0 for Maine after a sharp cutback at the top of the left circle opened space in the high slot. Murphy and McInnis worked a nice give-and-go on the rush.

LaCouvee’s bid for the team’s second shutout of the season ended with 7:40 remaining when Jonathan Charbonneau scored on a blast from the right circle.

“That one was on me,” said team captain Zach Tolkinen. “It kind of ramped up my stick and went high on him. Those are tough for goalies to read when they change angles on you.”

The Stingrays are coming off a frustrating month in which they won just once in 13 games. They will remain in Portland for Saturday night’s long-anticipated Wild Blueberries night, in which the Mariners will temporarily assume the name and jerseys of the moniker that finished second in their team-naming contest.

“Guys are pumped to wear the new jerseys,” Tschantz said. “We’re expecting a big crowd so we’re juiced up.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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