Stingrays Week 11 Recap: High Notes

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Posted January 2, 2017

The new Trevor Gillies bobblehead (via the Stingrays)

Needing wins against three South Division opponents, the South Carolina Stingrays ended the 2016 calendar year with a trio of wins. They still sit fourth overall in the South, nine back of the Florida Everblades.

Rookie goaltender Adam Carlson got injured and is listed as day-to-day by the team. Local goaltender Chris Kovalcik joined the team in an emergency role for the game against Greenville, and the team traded future considerations to Greenville for Jordan Ruby. Ruby played no games for the Swamp Rabbits, and appeared in 12 games for the Macon Mayhem of the Southern Professional Hockey League earlier this season.

Rob Flick led the way with four points in the 5-4 overtime win over the Atlanta Gladiators. Flick assisted on Dylan Margonari’s first and second period goals, as well as Steven McParland’s second period marker. Cason Hohmann scored twice in the middle frame to pull Atlanta back to a one-goal deficit.

Thomas Frazee and Brock Higgs scored in the third to give Atlanta a lead, but McParland’s second of the night tied the game late. Flick ended the game in overtime with help from Wade Epp and goaltender Parker Milner. Milner also finished the game with 32 saves.

Carlson was supposed to start the next game against Greenville, but his injury forced Milner back into the crease. He made 23 stops and Kelly Zajac tallied five points to help the Stingrays to a 6-3 win over the Swamp Rabbits.

After Bretton Cameron got Greenville on the board with a power play goal, Joe Devin scored the first Stingrays power play goal in a while to tie it up. Olivier Archambault, Zajac, Derek DeBlois, and Zajac again scored four consecutive goals — spanning from 6:03 of the second to 0:24 of the third.

Desmond Bergin would put up his fifth for the Swamp Rabbits, but DeBlois slid in a late empty-netter for South Carolina’s sixth goal. Michael Turner got his first of the year and first in the ECHL to finish the 6-3 scoreline.

Then came time for some roster moves. Right after the Swamp Rabbits game, the Stingrays completed the Max Nicastro trade by sending rookie Alex Gacek to the Orlando Solar Bears. The Miami (OH) graduate had 12 points in 19 games with South Carolina. He will see his former team on February 12 at the North Charleston Coliseum.

With AHL Hershey facing a depleted defense corps, they signed Stingrays blueliner Colton Saucerman to a Professional Tryout Agreement. He made his AHL debut in a 4-1 loss against the Providence Bruins, firing two shots and going -1 overall.

On the night of his bobblehead giveaway, Trevor Gillies only got two minor penalties while Marcus Perrier fought Dalton Smith. Four Stingrays tallied multiple points and Milner made 26 saves in the 4-1 win over the division-leading Everblades to close the calendar year.

Zajac got his tenth goal of the year with a power play strike in the first two minutes, then Wade Epp let one rip from the blueline for his first of the year. DeBlois added another on a carry-over power play in the second period, followed by Flick’s 13th of the year.

Brent Harris scored the only goal for the Everblades early in the third, to be cancelled out by the captain Devin in the final two minutes. Zajac ended the game with a team-leading 25 assists.

NEXT WEEK

After a visit from the Tulsa Oilers on $2 beer and hot dog Tuesday night, it is three more South Division games for the Stingrays. This weekend slate features a Friday night home matchup with Greenville, followed by a Saturday evening contest in Greenville. Then comes a Sunday afternoon date in Atlanta.

The Rays are running a “What You Didn’t Get for Christmas” special on Friday, sponsored by 102.5 WXLY, 94.3 WSCC, and Charleston Wraps. They will raffle off hot holiday items throughout the night, the ones “you were really hoping for this holiday season” as the promotion says.

CURRENT STANDING

4th South Division, 16-11-1-1 (W-L-OTL-SOL), 34 points, .586 points percentage

 

Steven McParland (via @Sarah_Hobday)