The South Carolina Stingrays secured one point in the standings from their first contest of the 2020-21 season Friday as professional hockey returned to the Lowcountry. Although they never trailed during regulation, the Rays came up short in overtime, falling to Greenville by a score of 3-2.
South Carolina will play a home-and-home series with the Jacksonville Icemen this week, starting Friday on the road in the Sunshine State before returning to the Lowcountry Saturday night. Jacksonville has started the season 1-1-0 after falling to the Florida Everblades on Friday and defeating Greenville Saturday. In 2019-20, SC went 5-1-0 against the Icemen.
STINGRAYS RECORD:0-0-1-0LAST WEEK: 0-0-1-0
FRIDAY: GREENVILLE SWAMP RABBITS 3, SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 2 OT(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)In front of a socially distant capacity crowd of 2,700 fans, the South Carolina Stingrays were unable to hold a lead and fell to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in overtime by a score of 3-2 in their season opener of the 2020-21 season Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. SC forward Caleb Herbert led the way offensively with a goal and an assist in his first game back with the team since the spring of 2016, while goaltender Hunter Shepard stopped 26 shots in his pro debut for the Rays.THIS WEEKFriday, December 18 – at Jacksonville Icemen, 7:00 p.m. (Veterans Memorial Arena)Saturday, December 19 – vs. Jacksonville Icemen, 6:05 p.m. (North Charleston Coliseum)STINGRAYS LEADERSGoals: 1 – Caleb Herbert, Max NovakAssists: 2 – Cole UllyPoints: 2 – Caleb Herbert, Cole UllyPlus/Minus: Plus-2 – Caleb Herbert, Max Novak, Cole UllyPenalty Minutes: 7 – Macoy ErkampsShots On Goal: 4 – Andrew Cherniwchan, Mark CooperGoals Against Average: 2.85 – Hunter ShepardSave Percentage: 0.897 – Hunter ShepardNOVAK BREAKS THE ICEForward Max Novak scored the first goal of the season for the Stingrays in the team's season opener on Friday. Last season, the Oak Ridge, N.J. native was tied for the team lead in overall scoring with 51 points on 15 goals and 36 assists. Now in his sixth professional season, Novak was recently named one of the team’s alternate captains on Thursday.
HERBERT SHINES IN RETURN TO RAYSForward Caleb Herbert had a goal and an assist in Friday’s game, his first contest as a member of South Carolina since the spring of 2016. Herbert recorded the primary helper on Max Novak’s opening goal in the second frame, before scoring to give the Rays a 2-1 advantage early in the third. The Bloomington, Minn. native signed an AHL contract with Hershey prior to the 2020-21 year, returning to the organization after he spent time with both SC and Hershey from 2013-16, including playoff runs in the Lowcountry during 2015 and 2016.
SHEPARD STANDS OUTGoaltender Hunter Shepard made his professional debut Friday and stopped 26 shots to help SC earn a point from their first game of the season against Greenville. The Grand Rapids, Minn. native had a prolific college career at Minnesota-Duluth during the past four seasons, helping to capture back-to-back National Championships in 2018 and 2019. Shepard also started in an NCAA-record 115 straight games from October 2017 until March of 2020.
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