More than a month into the 2020-21 ECHL regular season, the South Carolina Stingrays are still unbeaten in regulation at home. With seven contests at the North Charleston Coliseum in the books, the Rays have a record of 4-0-3, securing a total of 11 points in front of their home fans. Overall, South Carolina is 7-1-3 in their first 11 games, which has them in second place in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference with a points percentage of 0.773. The Stingrays have also done well with a lead this season, holding a 6-0-1 record when scoring the first goal and a 4-0-0 record when leading after the first period.
This week, South Carolina is scheduled for their longest trip of the season as they head north to Wheeling for a three-game series against the Nailers. The Rays won back-to-back matchups in North Charleston against Wheeling earlier this month on Jan. 8-9 by scores of 4-2 and 6-3.
STINGRAYS RECORD:7-1-3-0LAST WEEK: 1-0-1-0
FRIDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 4, WHEELING NAILERS 2(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)Despite coming from behind to tie the game in the third period, the South Carolina Stingrays suffered a 5-4 overtime loss to the Greenville Swamp Rabbts on Friday night after a goal by Matt Bradley in the extra session at the North Charleston Coliseum. Stingrays forwards Cam Askew and Dylan Steman each had a goal and an assist in the contest, while Mark Cooper scored his first tally of the season and Darien Craighead found the back of the net for the second straight game.
SATURDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 6, WHEELING NAILERS 3(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)For the fifth time this season, the South Carolina Stingrays and Greenville Swamp Rabbits needed extra time to find a winner. And just like they did on Dec. 26, the Stingrays prevailed in a shootout, stopping all three Greenville attempts to pick up a 4-3 win on Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. SC forwards Darien Craighead (1g, 1a) and Justin Florek (2a) each had multi-point nights in the victory, while goaltender Alex Dubeau stopped 27 saves to pick up the winning decision.THIS WEEKFriday, January 22 – at Wheeling Nailers, 7:10 p.m. (WesBanco Arena)Saturday, January 23 – at Wheeling Nailers, 7:10 p.m. (WesBanco Arena)Sunday, January 24 – at Wheeling Nailers, 4:10 p.m. (WesBanco Arena)STINGRAYS LEADERSGoals: 5 – Dylan StemanAssists: 7 – Max NovakPoints: 9 – Caleb Herbert, Mason Morelli, Cole UllyPlus/Minus: Plus-9 – Tariq HammondPenalty Minutes: 18 – Macoy Erkamps, Will Graber, Caleb HerbertShots On Goal: 41 – Caleb HerbertWins: 4 – Alex DubeauGoals Against Average: 2.07 – Hunter ShepardSave Percentage: 0.928 – Hunter ShepardCRAIGHEAD CONTINUES TO IMPRESSRookie forward Darien Craighead has scored in three straight games for SC, adding a goal in the third period of Friday’s overtime loss as well as a first period strike in Saturday’s shootout win. Last Saturday, the first-year skater scored his first pro goal just 56 seconds into the Rays’ win over Wheeling. The Surrey, British Columbia native has made the most of his opportunities, scoring on three of his six shots on goal this season. His 50% shooting percentage is first among all active ECHL skaters. Craighead turned pro this season after an excellent collegiate career at Northern Michigan University that saw him score 109 points in 153 games.
STEMAN STEPS UPForward Dylan Steman picked up a goal and an assist in Friday night’s game, helping on Mark Cooper’s first period strike before netting a power play tally in the second period. Prior to Saturday night, the second-year forward was on a three-game point scoring streak with three goals and two assists during the run. A native of Hanover, Minn., Steman now leads the Stingrays with five goals in the team’s first 11 contests. Three of his tallies have come on the man-advantage, which ranks as the second-most in the ECHL.
ASKEW BREAKS THROUGHForward Cam Askew picked up his first points of the 2020-21 season Friday, earning a goal and an assist in the overtime loss to Greenville. He followed up with another goal on Saturday in the team’s shootout win, scoring on the power play during the second period. Askew, now in his third season with South Carolina, has recorded 58 points on 31 goals and 27 assists in 111 career games.
ROOKIES MAKING THEIR MARKFour Stingrays rookie skaters were on the scoresheet last weekend, including three who recorded their first points of the year. Leading the way was Darien Craighead, who had goals in each contest, as well as an assist on Cam Askew’s power play goal on Saturday. Rookie defenseman Jesse Lees also had the primary helper on Askew’s tally, posting his first point of the year, while first-year defender Connor Moore earned an assist in his first pro game on Friday after feeding the puck to Mark Cooper for a strike late in the first period. In addition, forward Frédéric Létourneau posted his first career point Saturday on a third period goal by Jordan Klimek.
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