Stingrays Recap: A Rocky Start

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Posted November 1, 2015

It’s been a busy start to the season for the South Carolina Stingrays with player additions, thrilling victories, and agonizing defeats. Let’s recap:

WEEK 1
Prior to Opening Night, defenseman Tyler Lewington was assigned to the Stingrays from the Hershey Bears. He is on a three-year contract with Washington and played no games in his short stint in Hershey; he wears #19 in South Carolina.

The team split their opening weekend series against the Reading Royals, winning Opening Night 2-1 and dropping Sunday afternoon 6-0. Mark Dekanich’s 29 saves and Brett Cameron’s two goals were all South Carolina needed to win on an emotional night as the Stingrays honored the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting victims. Their commemorative “Charleston Strong” jerseys are still up for auction at auctions.nhl.com. All proceeds will benefit the children of the victims. The game also marked Joe Devin’s 100th ECHL game.

Three goals in the first nine minutes were too much for the Stingrays to handle and Vitek Vanecek, a Caps second-round draft pick, lost his professional debut by a final of 6-0. Reid Campbell, who started the season on reserve, was released this week.

WEEK 2
Stephan Vigier returned to the Stingrays in a trade with the Toledo Walleye for future considerations. He skated with the team in 2013-14, scoring six points (five goals, one assist) in eight games.

He made an immediate impact, scoring the second Stingrays goal in a 5-3 loss to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in their Home Opener. Max Suave and Joe Devin also tallied their firsts of the season as Bobby Shea notched three fighting majors throughout the contest.

The next night, the Stingrays and Swamp Rabbits needed overtime to decide the back-half of the home-and-home set. Andrew Johnston and Kyle Kraemer scored their first of the season, but the Swamp Rabbits converted on the power play in overtime. The ECHL, like the NHL, went to a 3-on-3 overtime format followed by a shootout; Saturday’s game marked the first time the Stingrays played in this configuration during the regular season.

The Stingrays then fell again at home to the Atlanta Gladiators, 5-3, despite a furious three-goal rally in the third period. Andrew Johnston scored four points on the weekend (one assist Friday, a goal and an assist Saturday, and a goal Sunday).

WEEK 3
After falling to 1-3-1 to start the season, the Stingrays signed Bentley University product Braden Komm. The 24-year-old goaltender will wear #29 for the Stingrays and compete for starts with Dekanich and Vanecek. To make room on the roster, Pete Massar was released. After being claimed by the Stingrays on waiver, he did not play in any of the five games he was on the roster.

Derek DeBlois re-signed with South Carolina after a brief stint with the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL (2 GP, 2 PIM, +1). His play ignited the Stingrays to a 4-2 win over the Florida Everblades Wednesday, the team’s first win since Opening Night. After DeBlois’s tying goal in the second period, Kyle Kraemer provided the game-winner in the closing minutes of the period. Joey Leach added an empty-netter to finish off the scoring.

Anthony Peters started the next night for the Everblades as they won the rematch Saturday Friday night. Vanecek saved 20 of the 21 shots he faced, only allowing a power play goal to Justin Agosta. Matt Marquardt scored with Vanecek pulled for the extra attacker with 4.1 seconds left in the game.

The Stingrays returned home to start their seven game home-stand by beating the Evansville IceMen 5-2. Joe Devin scored twice, Komm saved 23 of the 25 shots he faced from his former team, and Ryan Warsofsky filled in the for head coach Spencer Carbery who missed the game to see the birth of his daughter.

Austin Fyten also earned his first AHL call-up to the Hershey Bears.

CURRENT STANDING

4th in the South Division, 3-4-1-0 (W-L-OTL-SOL), 7 Points.