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Stingrays Week 1 Recap: Twice As Nice
Jeff Jakaitis, via the Stingrays
The South Carolina Stingrays opened their 25th season of play at home against cross-state rival Greenville, behind two goals from Steven Whitney en route to a 4-3 win.
Forward Tim McGauley also had two assists in the game including a nice saucer pass to Andrew Cherniwchan that gave the Rays a 3-1 lead just under four minutes into the middle period.
Forward Dylan Margonari also got an assist on the play, earning his first point in his first game back from a devastating injury suffered in January that cost him the remainder of the season. Jeff Jakaitis made his return to the Stingrays after leading them to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2015. Jakaitis made 28 saves, including some big ones late to give the Stingrays the win.
The Stingrays then traveled south to face the Jacksonville Iceman for the first time ever as Jacksonville is new to the league this season. The Stingrays made it out with a 3-2 win behind two shorthanded goals from Cherniwchan. The other goal came from captain Joe Devin.
Jacksonville broke the ice first on a goal from Alexander Goulet just over two minutes into the middle frame. After the teams traded goals in the second, Chernichan would score to give the Rays the lead for good 6:50 into the final frame. Jakaitis would stop 20 shots in the game.
Jakaitis’s performances would earn him goalie of the week honors. Along with his 2-0-0 record, he has a 2.50 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.
Other standouts for the rays include Danny Federico, who is tied for the team lead in assists (two) along with Margonari and McGauley. Cherniwchan leads the way with goals with three, leads the team in plus/minus with a +3 rating, and is tied in points (also at three) with Steven Whitney.
The week ahead: News out of Hershey is that both Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek are both still hurt, but progressing, according to Hershey head coach Troy Mann. Mann also said that both will be unable to play this weekend meaning Adam Carlson and Parker Milner will remain in Hershey for at least another week.
The Stingrays are traveling to Norfolk (2-3-0, 4 points) this week for a pair of games against the Admirals on Friday and Saturday. Both games will begin at 7. The Stingrays and Admirals are tied, along with the Orlando Solar Bears (2-1-0) for second in the South Division behind the Florida Everblades who are off to a hot 4-0-0 start.