The South Carolina Stingrays enter the final week of the ECHL’s 2020-21 regular season with hopes of earning a spot in the 2021 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Rays have three games remaining on their schedule and can control their own destiny by winning all their contests against Wheeling, Orlando and Jacksonville. Last week, SC bolstered their chances of making the postseason with three straight wins at home on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The Stingrays currently hold fifth place in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference standings with a points percentage of 0.560. The top four teams in the conference will qualify for the playoffs. While Florida and Greenville have earned their way in, the Rays are one of four clubs fighting for the final two spots as well as Indy, Orlando and Jacksonville.
This week the Stingrays will host the Nailers on Tuesday before traveling to Orlando for a Thursday night tilt and return home to face the Jacksonville Icemen in their regular season finale on Saturday. SC has won all five of their previous matchups with Wheeling this season. The Rays also have a 5-8-0 record in 13 prior matchups against the Solar Bears and a 7-4-4 mark in 15 meetings with the Icemen.
STINGRAYS RECORD:31-23-10-3LAST WEEK: 3-0-0-0
WEDNESDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 3, GREENVILLE SWAMP RABBITS 2(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)Justin Florek broke a deadlock late in the third period with his 16th goal of the season and the South Carolina Stingrays secured a 3-2 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in the final meeting of the regular season between the two in-state rivals on Wednesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. Dan DeSalvo assisted on all three of South Carolina’s goals in the game, while goaltender Hunter Shepard stopped 29 shots and Caleb Herbert registered two helpers in the victory.
FRIDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 1, WHEELING NAILERS 0(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)Goaltender Hunter Shepard stopped 34 shots to record his first career ECHL shutout in a 1-0 win for the South Carolina Stingrays over the Wheeling Nailers on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. Forward Brett Supinski scored the only goal of the night for the Rays in the final minute of the second period, pushing a rebound past goaltender Tommy Nappier after an initial breakaway chance for Caleb Herbert went off the left post. Herbert had the lone assist on Supinski’s 13th tally of the season, which came at 19:11 of the middle frame.
SATURDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 6, WHEELING NAILERS 2(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)The South Carolina Stingrays piled up 50 shots on their way to a 6-2 victory over the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. Defender Tyler Nanne recorded his first professional two-goal game in the win, while forwards Brett Supinski and Matthew Weis each scored a goal and an assist and Dan DeSalvo recorded two assists.THIS WEEKTuesday, June 1 – vs. Wheeling Nailers, 7:05 p.m. (North Charleston Coliseum)Thursday, June 3 – at Orlando Solar Bears, 7 p.m. (Amway Center)Saturday, June 5 – vs. Jacksonville Icemen, 6:05 p.m. (North Charleston Coliseum)STINGRAYS LEADERSGoals: 21 – Cole UllyAssists: 37 – Dan DeSalvoPoints: 57 – Cole UllyPlus/Minus: Plus-8 – Tariq HammondPenalty Minutes: 63 – Zach MalatestaShots On Goal: 166 – Cole UllyWins: 16 – Alex DubeauGoals Against Average: 2.67 – Hunter ShepardSave Percentage: 0.920 – Matt Jurusik, Hunter Shepard
SHEPARD FINDS SUCCESSGoaltender Hunter Shepard was in net for all three of South Carolina’s wins last week, posting a goals-against average of just 1.33 and a save percentage at 0.952 in 180 minutes of action. The rookie netminder earned his first ECHL shutout in Friday's 1-0 win over Wheeling with 34 saves. Overall, Shepard has made 19 ECHL appearances this season with SC and has a 2.67 goals-against with a .920 save percentage.
NO STOPPING NANNEDefender Tyler Nanne had his first career two-goal game on Saturday night, striking twice in a 6-2 win over Wheeling. The Edina, Minn. native now has 11 points for South Carolina in 31 games during 2020-21 with seven goals and four assists and ranks second in shooting percentage among all ECHL defensemen at 14.6%. Nanne’s seven goals are also tied for third-most among all rookie blueliners.
DESALVO SETS A NEW HIGH MARKForward Dan DeSalvo led the Stingrays in scoring last week with five assists in the club’s three home wins. Overall, the Bowling Green State University alum has set a new career-high with 53 points this season in 58 games. DeSalvo’s point total ranks second on the team, while his 37 assists are tops among all SC skaters. In addition, his scoring total ranks 13th in the ECHL.
HERBERT DISHING OUT THE HELPERSStingrays forward Caleb Herbert had assists in all three home wins last week and has now recorded six helpers in his last four home games overall. Herbert’s streak of recording assists in each of his last four home games is the second-longest current run in the league. Overall, Herbert is eighth on the roster in scoring with 32 points in 45 games on eight goals and 24 assists.—Tickets for all of the team’s upcoming 2020-21 home contests are on sale now via Ticketmaster.
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