Stingrays Playoff Primer: Weather Forecast

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Posted April 28, 2016

Vanecek (via the Stingrays)

The South Carolina Stingrays rolled into Round 2 of the Kelly Cup Playoffs after taking four of five game from the Kalamazoo Wings, most of them in decisive fashion. As for their next opponent, a familiar face stands behind the bench while an unfamiliar team comes their way on the ice.

The Adirondack Thunder faced off with the Stingrays three times over the 72 game regular season. The first set of games came in Glen Falls Civic Center with Mark Dekanich and Branden Komm as the Rays goaltending tandem. Vitek Vanecek was on his way back from the IIHF World Juniors, where he represented the Czech Republic.

Dekanich also took the crease for the third matchup in North Charleston, a 3-2 overtime loss. This was the second game amid a stretch from the end of February to April where the Rays did not lose a game in regulation all the way up until Game 3 against Kalamazoo.

ADIRONDACK THUNDER

By virtue of how the last day of the season panned out, the Adirondack Thunder got to face the East Division champion Manchester Monarchs. Until Game 5, when the Thunder ultimately took the series, each of the games were decided by one goal (in the case of Game 3, the last Thunder goal came on an empty net).

Ken Appleby, who also backstopped the only Thunder regulation win against the Rays, started all five games against Doug Carr and the Monarchs. He ended with a 1.75 goals against average, nine total goals allowed, one shutout, and a .942 save percentage.

Up front, the Thunder have three forwards tied on the team lead in points with seven: forwards Greg Wolfe (four goals, three assists), Mitchell Heard (three goals, four assists), and Peter MacArthur (two goals, five assists). Ryan Constant on defense provided a point-per-game average with one goal and five helpers over the series, with the goal and two assists coming in Game 5.

The Thunder also stayed out of the penalty box, only taking a combined 56 penalty minutes, the fewest in the East this playoffs. 16 of those minutes came in the series clincher, but the penalty kill killed off all six chances for Manchester. The Monarchs only got two power play goals in 23 opportunities.

SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS

The second-most penalized team in the league and first-most in the East from the regular season played a disciplined series with Kalamazoo. Only taking one minor penalty in Game 4 certainly helped, especially in a game decided by a last-minute too many men on the ice call.

Speaking of that penalty, Joe Devin is forming his reputation as a playoff performer. In last year’s run to the Kelly Cup Finals, Devin notched the tying and/or winning goal four times, including his most famous one in triple overtime of Game 7 against Toledo in the Eastern Conference Finals. With Wayne Simpson in AHL Portland and captain Andrew Rowe helping Bridgeport’s run, the Rays turned to Devin to be the clutch player.

Devin played the winner twice this series, scoring the go-ahead and the game-winning markers in Game 4 as well as the GWG in Game 5. David Pacan is suiting himself as a supporting player, assisting on five goals; Kelly Zajac also has five assists over the playoffs.

As for goaltending, head coach Spencer Carbery has a problem coaches wish they had: who to start of two great goalies? Veteran Mark Dekainch and rookie Vitek Vanecek split the away and home games of the 3-4 series format. Dekanich allowed five of his seven goal in Game 3, the only one the Wings won. Vanecek’s three goals allowed over two games is enough to put him at second on the playoff goaltenders list for GAA at 1.50.

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE (BOLD = Home game)

Game 1 – Friday, April 29 at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum
Game 2 – Saturday, April 30 at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum
Game 3 – Tuesday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Glens Falls Civic Center
Game 4 –Thursday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m. at the Glens Falls Civic Center
Game 5 –Saturday, May 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the Glens Falls Civic Center (If Necessary) *
Game 6 – Tuesday, May 10 at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum (If Necessary) *
Game 7 – Wednesday, May 11 at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum (If Necessary) *
(All times Eastern)