After no ECHL playoffs last season, The South Carolina Stingrays hosted the Florida Everblades for the first game of the 2021 Kelly Cup Playoffs and it didn’t disappoint, going into overtime. The Braham Cup Champion Florida Everblades chose to play the last three games at home instead of the first three games, however, the Stingrays aren’t playing at their regular rink due to high school graduations happening at the North Charleston Coliseum. As a result of this change, South Carolina is playing this round at Carolina Ice Palace. Florida won the season series 8-2, however, it would be the Stingrays who would win this one in sudden death overtime.
Dan DeSalvo Wins Game One For Stingrays
In the opening period on Monday, special teams played a factor for both sides, as each got on the board with a power play goal. Florida would open the contest with a shot from Ben Masalla, who only played 10 games this season, beating Hunter Shepard short side to give the Everblades the lead. Despite that, the Stingrays would quickly respond, as Matthew Weis scored during a four-on-three power play, this tying the game despite Florida seeming to hold the edge in the early goings. The Everblades would attempt to retain the lead, as Michael Hunterbrinker would see a chance on the breakaway, however, stopped by the Stingrays backstop.
Moving ahead to the third, Michael Neville who only scored one goal in 32 regular season games, would put Florida up 2-1 over South Carolina. That led to another Stingrays response, as Matthew Weis knotted the game at two apiece. That would force the extra frame, where Dan DeSalvo, less than five minutes in, would pot the 3-2 winner, finding the net behind Jake Hildebrand. Hunter Shepard would make 28 saves in the Everblades win after being named the league’s Goaltender of the Week for the final week of the regular season.
Florida will look to tie the series on Wednesday night, with puck drop scheduled for 7:05pmET. All ECHL playoff games can be streamed using FloSports online.