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Stingrays Week 18 Recap: Flick Trick
Joey Leach (via Sarah Hobday)
Few players have the capacity to score a hat trick. Few can score a Gordie Howe hat trick. Rob Flick did both against Manchester Friday night, one of three Stingrays victories this week.
The Eastern Conference playoff picture is crowding up. While the Florida Everblades are running away with the South at 73 points, the Manchester Monarchs (67), Reading Royals (65), Brampton Beast (64), and Adirondack Thunder (64) are jockeying for the North. Behind them all are the Stingrays, Greenville Swamp Rabbits, and Orlando Solar Bears are all tied for second place in the South at 61 points.
The AHL Hershey Bears reassigned goaltender Joe Cannata to South Carolina. In 21 games with the Bears, he posted a 10-5-4 record with a 0.875 save percentage. Parker Milner and Vitek Vanecek have displaced him in the Hershey stable.
Cannata stepped into starting duty for the Tuesday matchup with the Atlanta Gladiators, backstopping the Rays to a 4-2 comeback victory.
After Connor Gaarder and Tyler Murovich scored in the first period, Domenic Monardo and Joey Leach tied it up in the second. Monardo extended his point streak to seven games with his goal and an assist.
Defenseman Alex Brooks snuck a wrist shot past Matt Ginn following a Marcus Perrier faceoff win. His first ECHL goal held up as the game-winner, as Andrew Cherniwchan added insurance with less than two minutes of the game.
Prior to Friday night, the Stingrays announced three roster moves. In a swap with Hershey, Steve Weinstein returned to South Carolina while Kelly Zajac got his first AHL recall in his two years in South Carolina.
In exchange for future considerations, the Stingrays received forward Patrick Megannety from the Allen Americans. Megannety played one game for Allen after his call-up from the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers.
Flick’s monster night pushed the Stingrays to a 5-2 win over the Monarchs. Cannata again stepped in for the Rays, making 27 saves for his second ECHL win since 2014-15 with the Ontario Reign.
With the score 2-1 Manchester after Matte Leitner cancelled out Flick’s equalizer, a Colton Saucerman shot came on net. Jonah Imoo made the save, while Tim McGauley crashed the net. Tyler Elbrecht took issue and gave him a shove. Flick came in for the rescue of his teammate, earning an instigating penalty.
Flick unloaded his right hand on Elbrecht, even trying to remove his helmet when Elbrecht turtled. The linesmen stepped in to stop the fight at that point, but the North Charleston crowd was already giving Flick a standing ovation.
Flick and Scott Tanski — with an assist from Flick — scored in the second, followed by Marcus Perrier and Flick again in the third.
In his third straight start, Cannata made 24 saves in a 5-3 win over Manchester on Pack The House/Military Appreciation Night.
In front of 8,106 fans at the North Charleston Coliseum, the Stingrays jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Before fans could settle into their seats, John Parker had them cheering with a goal 16 seconds into the contest. Flick put up another a few minutes later. The Stingrays only had six shots on the period.
Perrier, Monardo, and Parker scored in the second, chasing starter Sam Brittain. Jonah Imoo’s arrival woke up the Monarchs offense.
Rick Pinkston and Cory Ward scored for the visitors to end the second down by three, but only Rihards Bukarts tallied in the third.
At the final whistle, Zac Lynch and Wade Epp gave each other hard slashes across the back, resulting in misconduct penalties.While some celebrated with Cannata, Trevor Gillies and Ashton Rome’s conversation drew an encircling crowd. The three officials needed to step in to ensure no shenanigans marred the end of the game.
Adam Carlson started the weekend finale, making 18 saves in the lone loss of the week to the Adirondack Thunder. Cherniwchan and Tanski scored for the Stingrays, while Monardo’s 20th assist of the season gave him a 10-game point streak.
The next two weeks will showcase the Stingrays against the last- and first-place teams in the Mountain Division. First up is a Friday-Saturday-Sunday series with the Rapid City Rush, who are on a four-game winning streak and nine points back of sixth-place.
The start times are two hours back of Eastern Standard Time. A 7:05 p.m. local start means a 9:05 p.m. puck drop for listeners and viewers on the East coast.
T-2nd in South Division, 29-21-2-1 (W-L-OTL-SOL), 61 points, 0.575 points percentage