How good does it feel to have ECHL hockey back? More importantly, how good does it feel to have Stingrays hockey back?
Stingrays Drop Opening Night To Swamp Rabbits
On Friday December 11th, the South Carolina Stingrays opened their 2020-21 season against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at the North Charleston Coliseum with a 3-2 overtime loss.
Scoring would open up in the second period when South Carolina right-winger Max Novak got a shot past Ryan Bernard with the help of Caleb Herbert and forward Cole Ully. Only two minutes and 19 seconds later, forwards Matthew Wedman and Sam Jardine would set up Bryan Moore for a shot that would get past goalie Hunter Shepard to tie the game at one apiece.
In the third period, South Carolina would strike again just two minutes in with a goal from Caleb Herbert. This would give the Stingrays a 2-1 lead late in the game. Around six minutes later, defensemen Ben Finkelstein would tie the game up at two with a power play goal for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.
The game would remain deadlocked as it headed to overtime, where Grenville would score just three minutes in to pick up the 3-2 victory. Defensemen Ben Finkelstein would pick up his second goal of the night in the win.
Stingrays Rebound For First Win Of 2020-21 Season
On Friday, December 18th the South Carolina Stingrays picked up their first win of the season against the Jacksonville Icemen at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. The final score was 2-1. Stingrays goaltender Hunter Shepard made 31 saves for his first pro victory. The win was also the first for head coach Ryan Blair.
The Stingrays came out of the gates hot, looking to avenge an opening night loss the weekend before against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Forward Caleb Herbert scored for the second time in as many games, while defender Max Gottlieb added the insurance goal in the game’s third period. That that turned out to be the game-winning goal.
Shepard was the real star in this game, turning away shot after shot for the first 59 minutes of the game. It wasn’t until the game’s final minute that Jacksonville snuck one past the brick wall that was Shepard for their only goal of the Friday night contest.
Herbert got the scoring started for the Stingrays ten minutes in with his second of the season. The goal was assisted by Max Novak and Cole Ully. The forward jumped on a loose rebound at the side of the net and pushed it past Eamon McAdam to give them a 1-0 lead.
Neither team could find the net in the second, as the South Carolina would hold their lead after two. Heading into the final frame, defensemen Max Gottlieb, just 2:58 in, would find the back of the net for his first of the season. Gottlieb would fire a bounce from the slot that would find its way past McAdam to make it 2-0 Stingrays. Captain Andrew Cherniwchan was awarded an assist on the play.
Late in the game, Derek Lodermeier would score, this putting the Icemen within a goal of the Stingrays. Scored in the game’s final minute, it wouldn’t be enough as South Carolina kept their composure intact to hold on for the victory. Despite not taking the win, Jacksonville would finish the game outshooting the Stingrays 32-25.
The Stingrays return to action against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on December 26th. Puck drop at Bon Secours Wellness Arena is scheduled to fall at 7:05pmET.