The South Carolina Stingrays are headed to Kelly Cup Finals after beating the Greenville Swamp Rabbits by a final score of 2-1 on Monday night. The win also crowned the Rays as the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Trophy recipient as winners of the Eastern Conference. This is will be the team’s ECHL leading sixth appearance in the Kelly Cup Finals. South Carolina will take on the Fort Wayne Komets in their bid for a championship.
Stingrays Crush Rabbits Late In Game 4
South Carolina entered Monday’s match riding a high off a late Game 4 comeback in the final seconds courtesy of a Dan DeSalvo goal that deflected off his neck and into the net. As expected, the Swamp Rabbits broke out strong early and pushing the pace despite being down early on. Greenville continued to carry momentum into the second frame, as they peppered backstop Hunter Shepard, who was having a stellar outing in between the pipes. It would be at the 2:26 mark that the trailing Swamp Rabbits started to see opportunity, as Max Zimmer was awarded a penalty shot, however, stopped at the crease by Shepard. That penalty shot would end up being the turning point for the Stingrays.
As the period progressed, Greenville started looking disheveled and Garrett Thompson would check Andrew Cherniwchan into the boards, resulting in a boarding call, assessed for a major. That saw South Carolina get on the board during the power play, as forward Matthew Weis would fire one from the point, squeaking in past John Lethemon to put the Rays up 1-0.
With 40 minutes in the books, the Swamp Rabbits were looking for a way to tie the game to send it into sudden death overtime. The first goal of the frame was quickly scored at the 4:02 mark, as Max Novak, on a pass from Weis, shot a one-timer in, extending his team’s lead to 2-0. At this point in the game, it felt like that second goal all but quieted Greenville and subsequently ended their season. However, that was not yet the case. Just 35 seconds following the goal from Novak, Ben Finkelstein would take a shot through a screen, finding the back of the net, extending the Swamp Rabbits a lifeline. Despite being rescued from life support, Greenville couldn’t find a way to break Shepard, who would make 29 saves on 30 shots in a winning effort. That lifted the Rays to the Kelly Cup Finals, which will begin on Friday, as South Carolina will host the opening two contests. You can catch all the action live with a one-time subscription using FloSports online.