The South Carolina Stingrays begin a busy 4-game week on Wednesday in Norfolk before returning home to start a six-game stretch in North Charleston this weekend. Last week’s two-game trip to Atlanta resulted in back-to-back overtime losses, securing the Rays two additional points in the standings. SC remains in second place in the ECHL’s South Division with a total of 54 points, but Orlando and Jacksonville are within striking distance, with the Solar Bears only one point back and the Icemen two points behind. The Stingrays ran into the league’s hottest team in the Gladiators last week, who have secured points in 13 straight games with a record of 11-0-2.This week begins on Wednesday when the Stingrays battle the Admirals in Norfolk for the fourth and final time this season. So far this year, the Rays have a 2-3-0 record against Norfolk and a mark of 1-2-0 at the Norfolk Scope. SC returns home on Friday for a tough test with the Newfoundland Growlers, who lead the league’s North Division. The Stingrays will then host Jacksonville on Saturday night before completing their week on Sunday afternoon with another matchup against Atlanta.
STINGRAYS RECORD: 25-18-4-0LAST WEEK: 0-0-2-0
THURSDAY: ATLANTA GLADIATORS 6, SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 5 OT(Infinite Energy Center – Duluth, GA)Despite a four-goal comeback and a goal in the last minute to force an extra period, the South Carolina Stingrays came up short on Thursday morning at the Infinite Energy Center, falling to the Atlanta Gladiators by a final score of 6-5 in overtime. Grant Besse led the way for South Carolina with two goals and an assist, helping lead a comeback late in the game. The Stingrays had four other skaters with multi-point efforts including forwards Tim Harrison and Patrick Gaul who each had a goal and an assist, as well as Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Matt Pohlkamp, who both posted two helpers.
FRIDAY: ATLANTA GLADIATORS 2, SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 1 OT(Infinite Energy Center – Duluth, GA)The South Carolina Stingrays were defeated by the Atlanta Gladiators in overtime for the second consecutive day Friday, falling by a score of 2-1 when Justin MacDonald netted the winner 31 seconds into the extra session at the Infinite Energy Center. Goaltender Parker Milner made 33 saves for the Rays in a losing effort, while forward Grant Besse scored the lone goal for South Carolina, potting his 20th tally of the season in the second period.
THIS WEEKWednesday, February 13 – at Norfolk Admirals, 7 p.m. (Norfolk Scope)Friday, February 15 – vs. Newfoundland Growlers, 7:05 p.m. (North Charleston Coliseum)Saturday, February 16 – vs. Jacksonville Icemen, 7:05 p.m. (North Charleston Coliseum)Sunday, February 17 – vs. Atlanta Gladiators, 3:05 p.m. (North Charleston Coliseum)STINGRAYS LEADERSGoals: 20 – Grant BesseAssists: 29 – Andrew CherniwchanPoints: 47 – Andrew CherniwchanPlus/Minus: Plus-12 – Kevin McKernanPenalty Minutes: 85 – Andrew CherniwchanShots On Goal: 161 – Andrew CherniwchanWins: 11 – Parker MilnerGoals Against Average: 2.85 – Adam MorrisonSave Percentage: 0.910 – Parker Milner
BESSE BOOSTS HIS NUMBERSForward Grant Besse has scored goals in seven of his last eight games and now leads the Stingrays in goal scoring with 20 tallies on the season. After a 3-point effort on Thursday with a goal and two assists and another strike on Friday, the former 5th round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks has now totaled 37 points in 35 games with South Carolina this season.
TWICE IS NICE FOR HARRISONForward Tim Harrison scored a goal and added an assist in Thursday’s game vs. Atlanta to finish with his first multi-point game of the 2018-19 season. The Colgate University graduate is in his second pro season and first with the Stingrays, totaling 14 points in 43 games on six goals and eight assists. A year ago, Harrison collected 16 points in 63 games during his rookie season with the Adirondack Thunder. While team captain Joey Leach has been up in the AHL with the Hershey Bears, Harrison has been trusted by the coaching staff to wear an “A” on his shoulder, serving as the team’s third alternate captain alongside Patrick Gaul and Andrew Cherniwchan.
MILNER RETURNS TO FORMSince returning from injury on Jan. 27, goaltender Parker Milner has started six consecutive games for SC and was able to secure points in five of those outings. The reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Year has a record of 11-6-2 in 19 appearances including a season-long goals-against average of 2.98 and a save percentage at 0.910. A graduate of Boston College, Milner is playing in his sixth professional season and has played 194 career ECHL games, posting a GAA of 2.42 and a save percentage of 0.915.