Two wins over Worcester and Orlando last week kept the South Carolina Stingrays in second place in the ECHL’s South Division with an overall record of 20-14-1 for 41 points. As they reach the mid-point of their 2018-19 season this week, South Carolina will begin a 5-game homestand. The Stingrays have spent lots of time away from North Charleston during the first half of the season, playing 22 of their first 35 games on the road. However, they’ve had success at home, posting a 9-4-0 record in front of their fans at the Coliseum. The Rays have also been excellent on special teams in their own building, converting on a league-best 24.2% of power play opportunities at home, while killing off 89.8% of their penalties, which ranks second in the ECHL.
SC welcomes Atlanta to the Lowcountry on Friday night before an afternoon tilt with Jacksonville on Sunday. The Stingrays have posted a 6-0-0 record against the Gladiators this season, but are just 1-4-0 against the Icemen.
STINGRAYS RECORD: 20-14-1-0LAST WEEK: 2-1-0-0
FRIDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 4, WORCESTER RAILERS 1(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)Helped by a career-high 49 saves from goaltender Gordon Defiel, the South Carolina Stingrays held off the Worcester Railers 4-1 on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum for a win in their first game of 2019. Forwards Grant Besse and Andrew Cherniwchan each scored a goal and an assist for the Stingrays in the win, while defender Vinny Muto posted a goal against his former club.
SATURDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 2, ORLANDO SOLAR BEARS 1(Amway Center – Orlando, FL)
Two first period goals were enough for the South Carolina Stingrays to pick up their 20th win of the 2018-19 season Saturday night, defeating the Orlando Solar Bears by a final score of 2-1 at the Amway Center. It was the fourth victory over the Solar Bears this season for South Carolina, with all four coming on the road in Orlando. Goaltender Angus Redmond was named the first star of the game after stopping 31 shots and holding Orlando down for most of the night, while forwards Patrick Gaul and Jonathan Charbonneau each got on the board with goals in the first period for South Carolina.
SUNDAY: ORLANDO SOLAR BEARS 4, SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 1(Amway Center – Orlando, FL)The Orlando Solar Bears took an early lead never surrendered, scoring three power play goals to defeat the South Carolina Stingrays 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Amway Center. Goaltender Gordon Defiel made 46 saves in a losing effort, while forward Andrew Cherniwchan scored his team-leading 17th goal of the season when SC was shorthanded in the third period.THIS WEEKFriday, January 11 – vs. Atlanta Gladiators, 7:05 p.m. (North Charleston Coliseum)Sunday, January 13 – vs. Jacksonville Icemen, 3:05 p.m. (North Charleston Coliseum)STINGRAYS LEADERSGoals: 17 – Andrew CherniwchanAssists: 22 – Jonathan Charbonneau, Andrew CherniwchanPoints: 39 – Andrew CherniwchanPlus/Minus: Plus-10 – Kevin McKernanPenalty Minutes: 56 – Tad Kozun, Andrew CherniwchanShots On Goal: 135 – Andrew CherniwchanWins: 8 – Parker MilnerGoals Against Average: 2.62 – Gordon DefielSave Percentage: 0.921 – Gordon DefielCHERNIWCHAN CONTINUING HIS CAREER YEARForward Andrew Cherniwchan was held off the scoresheet Saturday night for the first time since Dec. 7, but came right back with a shorthanded goal Sunday afternoon for his team-leading 17th tally of the season. His season-high point streak, which lasted just short of a month, spanned 11 games. In his last 16 outings, Cherniwchan has been on the scoresheet 14 times. The Hinton, Alberta native’s total of 39 points on the season ranks 5th among active ECHL skaters and his 135 shots on goal rank 4th. The Northern Michigan University alum has already established new ECHL career-highs in points (39) and goals (17) and has moved up to 16th on the Stingrays all-time goal-scoring list (64), as well as 19th on the club’s all-time points list (141).
MCKERNAN KEEPS IT CONSISTENTDefender Kevin McKernan was the only Stingray skater to score points in all three games last weekend, picking up a goal in Friday's win over Worcester and assists in both outings at Orlando Saturday and Sunday. The Quinnipiac University grad now has 20 points this season on five goals and 15 assists while leading the team with a +10 rating.
GRATTON’S STRONG STARTForward Josh Gratton earned a primary assist in each of his first two games with the Stingrays on Friday and Saturday, picking up a helper on defender Vinny Muto’s third period insurance goal Friday night before leading Patrick Gaul to a breakaway goal the following evening in Orlando. Gratton, who has been known for his physical play during his 16-year pro career, has yet to take a penalty in his first three contests with South Carolina.
DEFIEL DEFYING THE ODDSGoaltender Gordon Defiel was very busy in the crease last weekend, facing a total of 50 shots in both of his appearances for South Carolina. The netminder was able to stop 49 on Friday to pick up his sixth victory of the season and turned aside 46 more on Sunday afternoon in Orlando. A graduate of Lake Superior State University, Defiel’s 95 total stops improved his season-long numbers to a 2.62 goals-against average along with a 0.921 save percentage in 12 games with this Stingrays.
Friday night's contest at the North Charleston Coliseum is Wizarding World Night and begins at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are on sale now!To bring your group to the game and save, call the Stingrays Front Office during business hours at 843-744-2248! For single game tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.For all the latest news and updates, and follow the Stingrays on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.