Stingrays Week 20 Recap: Back With the Caps!

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Posted March 21, 2016

Stars of the game against the Swamp Rabbits (Stingrays)

Stingrays President Rob Concannon and Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan announced the clubs’ affiliation extension into the 2017-18 season. Six of Washington’s skaters this season, including both Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer, spent time in the Lowcountry during their professional careers.

THE REST OF THE WEEK

On top of their busy week with Social Media Night and Undie Sunday (exactly what it sounds like), the South Carolina Stingrays made a video of players dancing to “Watch Me” by Silento. Trevor Gilles and Paul Rodrigues show off a bit of their age, but they had fun with it. Brett Cameron, Nick D’Agostino, and Wad Epp round out the cast.

On the ice, the Lowcountry’s own were busy fighting for the South Division lead with Florida and Greenville. The Rays took five of six possible points and maintained their slim lead on the division heading into the last three weeks of the season.

Friday featured a battle befitting of the number one and two teams in the South, as Florida needed a shootout to take the bonus point. Kelly Zajac and Stephan Vigier bookended a tally from Gabriel Desjardins of the Everblades in the first period. Maxime St. Cyr and Kevin Montgomery took the lead for the visitors before the final frame.

Patrick Gaul, skating in his 200th ECHL game, scored early in the third to force overtime. The Notre Dame product began hist professional career with the Mississippi RiverKings of the Southern Professional Hockey League before signing mid-season with South Carolina in 2012-13.

Mark Dekanich and the Stingrays penalty kill came up big in the extra frame, stopping all seven Everblades shots to cause a shootout. Brendan O’Donnell beat Dekanich in the fourth round and Zajac could not score to respond, setting up a battle for first place the next night.

Regining CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week Vitek Vanecek returned to the crease to make 24 saves and backstop a Stingrays 2-1 win. All three goals came on the same side of the ice and one came in each period.

Wade Epp’s first period marker was cancelled out by Matt Stanisz in the second. Jared Staal provided the late theatrics when he scored in the last six minutes of regulation for the win. Head coach Spencer Carbery earned his 200th Stingrays win in the process.

In his first game with the Stingrays, Tsawwassen, British Columbia native Spencer Humphries scored his first fight with his new team. The defenseman previously had 82 penalty minutes as part of the Evansville IceMen

Anthony Peters of Florida stopped 26 of 28 Stingrays shots, including 13 saves in the third period alone.

With Florida winning at Atlanta, it was imperative for South Carolina to finish off their season series against Greenville with a win on Unide Sunday. That they did, holding off Florida’s challenge for first.

It looked bleak to start with the Swamp Rabbits jumping out to a 2-0 lead thanks to Jack Combs (PP) and Scott Fleming. Greenville only had six shots on the period; South Carolina had five.

After Vigier scored 36 seconds into the second to send the undies, boxers, briefs, bras, and panties and the ice to benefit the Carolina Youth Development Center, rough stuff reigned over the period. Joe Houk and Joey Leach dropped gloves as each got a five and a ten for continuing the altercation. More roughing minors were doled out until a power play late in the period yielded enough pressure on Dekanich for a Swamp Rabbits goal by Combs.

Marcus Perrier scored his ninth of the season to make the difference one before the last period of regulation. He then hit double digits on the tying tally in the middle of the third.

Mackenzie Skapski stopped all nine Rays shots in extra time and Dekanich added four more saves for a 24 save night. Another shootout would be needed.

Combs cancelled out Vigier’s goal to force a fourth round. Vinny Saponari missed the net, allowing Brandon Magee playing in his first game since February 21st, to try his luck in the skills contest. His shot under the left pad handed Greenville their first shootout loss of the season.

NEXT WEEK

Two games at Infinite Energy Center in Atlanta on Thursday and Saturday are all for the week before the Rays return home to face the Gladiators again on Tuesday.

CURRENT STANDING

64 games played, 38-18-5-3 (W-L-OTL-SOL), 84 points, 1st in South Division

We had such a great time tonight at our post game Skate with the Rays! Thank you to everyone who came! Look for the entire album on Facebook!

A photo posted by South Carolina Stingrays (@scstingrayshockey) on