Time to catch you up on a crazy month for the South Carolina Stingrays.
Stingrays Ice Icemen To Sweep Weekend Series
On Saturday December 19th, the Stingrays picked up a 5-1 win over the Jacksonville Icemen to sweep the weekend series. It also happened to be Teddy Bear Toss Night at the North Charleston Coliseum. Goalie Zach Fucale picked up 35 saves en route to the victory.
Scoring for the night got started when forward Cole Ully put a rebound in the empty net after Icemen goaltender Kyle Keyser misplayed the puck just seven minutes into the opening period. Assists on the goal were rewarded to defensemen Doyle Somerby and Tyler Nanne.
Justin Florek would later add to the lead, scoring his first of the season on a breakaway, beating Keyser. Defensemen Macoy Erkamps was rewarded with the lone assist. The goal was scored eight minutes into the game’s middle frame.
In the third, captain Andrew Cherniwchan would increase the lead when he knocked home a shot eight minutes into the third. Assists on the play were rewarded to Mason Morelli and defensemen Tariq Hammond.
This would not be the end of scoring for the night, as less than four minutes later, Morelli scored on the back door with assists from Cherniwchan and Justin Florek. As the clock started winding down, this would give the Stingrays a 4-0 lead. Jacksonville would eventually get on the board, as Mike Szmatula redirected a shot past Zach Fucale to cut the lead to 4-1.
South Carolina, though, would not allow Jacksonville to gain anymore momentum and would instead add a shorthanded empty-net strike from Dylan Steman with just two minutes left. Trailing South Carolina by three now, this would put an end to the night for the Icemen. Forward Max Novak had the lone assist on the game’s final tally.
In a losing effort for the Jacksonville Icemen, Keyser finished the night making 39 saves. The Stingrays would edge out Jacksonville in shots-on-goal by a margin of eight, 44-36.
Stingrays Avenge Opening Night Loss To Swamp Rabbits
On Saturday December 26th, the Stingrays avenged their opening night loss to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits with a 3-2 shootout win at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Scoring began early in the first period, as Stingrays forward Dylan Steman lead off when he squeezed a shot past the five hole of Ryan Bednard just 2:30 in to give the Rays an early lead. Assists on the goal were credited to Doyle Somerby and Tariq Hammond.
Greenville would respond just minutes later, as forward Nick Poehling snuck past the defence and put in a perfectly placed pass from brother, Jack Poehling, past goalie Hunter Shepard to tie the game four minutes later.
In the second, Morelli would put the Rays back in front 2-1 with an unassisted goal at the 9:25 mark. Greenville would once again even things up when defensemen Sam Jardine scored put one in from the point with just three minutes left in the game’s middle period.
Heading into the third, things only intensified between the two rivals, as it came right down to the wire. The two would remain tied at two after three and would remain tied through the end of overtime, but not without some close calls on both sides, including a penalty shot in overtime from Max Novak, who’s attempt was unsuccessful.
Finally, in the shootout, forwards Andrew Cherniwchan and Dan DeSalvo would find the back of the net, while Shepard turned away four different Greenville skaters to secure the victory for South Carolina.
In a losing effort for the Swamp Rabbits, Bednard finished the night making 35 saves. Shepard, on the other hand, turned aside 29 shots in the win. The Stingrays exited the contest outshooting Greenville 38-31.
Stingrays Drop Second Game Of Back-To-Back Against Greenville
On Sunday December 27th, the South Carolina Stingrays lost in the second game of a back-to-back against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. They fell 3-2 in overtime at the North Charleston Coliseum.
After a scoreless first period of action, the Swamp Rabbits broke open the scoring courtesy of Garrett Thompson five minutes into the second. He did so after burying a pass from defensemen Jack Sadek past backstop Alex Dubeau.
Greenville’s lead would only last for a minute, as Justin Florek rushed up to the net and buried a rebound chance, getting by John Lethemon. The unassisted goal was scored seven minutes into the game’s second frame.
As the third period got underway, captain Andrew Cherniwchan deflected a pass from Caleb Herbert to give the South Carolina Stingrays their first lead of the day. The goal, put in on the power play, was scored just three minutes into the game’s final period. Forward Brett Supinski picked up the additional assist on the goal.
The Swamp Rabbits would respond five minutes later, as Bryan Moore beat Dubeau with a wrist shot to even the score, the game now tied two apiece. For the third time already this season, the game would remain knotted up at the end of regulation to force the overtime frame.
Although both sides saw chances to win it, defensemen Ben Finkelstein found the back of the net following a breakaway opportunity assisted by winger Liam Pecararo. This was just two minutes into the overtime frame, giving the Swamp Rabbits a 3-2 victory.
Greenville John Lethemon picked up his first professional win, making 30 saves against the Stingrays hockey club. On the other side, Alex Dubeau collected 26 saves in his season debut. The Stingrays, for a second straight game, would outshoot the Swamp Rabbits 32-29.
The Stingrays are 3-0-2-0 this season and have earned a point in all five contests thus far. The team returns home on Friday for a two-game set against the Wheeling Nailers. Puck drop at North Charleston Coliseum is scheduled to fall at 7:05pmET.