The Stingrays Find Themselves in a Fight for Their Season

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Posted March 29, 2019

via Sarah Hobday

The South Carolina Stingrays are the epitome of consistency. In their previous 25 seasons, they have made the playoffs in all but one season. They have three Kelly Cups to their name. So how are they doing this year?

Not so great.

The Rays are usually on top of their division, but this year they are fighting for their playoff lives. They will wake up Saturday morning two points out of the last playoff spot in the South Division. The Rays are two points back of the Atlanta Gladiators, who beat the Jacksonville Ice Men 6-2 on Friday night. The Rays have four games left in the regular season. Atlanta has five.

The Rays changed ownership in the spring, and with the departure of head coach Ryan Warsofsky, they needed a new head coach. Typically, the Rays promoted the previous coach’s assistant to the head coaching job, but instead, they went with an outside hire this season choosing Spiros Anastas. Anastas was the head coach of the University of Lethbridge men’s hockey team in Lethbridge, Alberta for four seasons from 2014-18. Previously, he worked with the Detroit Red Wings AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids during their Calder Cup run in 2013. Until March 11, when Mason Mitchell was sent down from Hershey, the Rays had no Caps prospects on the team. Mitchell has played in five games and has six points.

The good news for the Rays? They are currently on a four game win streak. Of their four remaining games, the last three games of the season, with the other game being against second-place Orlando. The Solar Bears are trying to fend off the Ice Men for second. Jacksonville is two points ahead Atlanta and four above South Carolina.

Atlanta’s schedule is no easy task. Five of their six games are on the road. The only home game is the last game of the year against the Rays. Atlanta plays six games in 10 days, a stretch that started Friday night. Their remaining schedule is as follows, at Jacksonville on Saturday, at South Carolina Sunday, at Orlando Thursday, at South Carolina April 6 then home against South Carolina April 7.

In addition, the math is easy for the Stingrays. They don’t need to worry how Atlanta does as long as they win. With three head-to-head games left against the Gladiators, the Rays have control over their own fate.