NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The South Carolina Stingrays enter the week tied with Jacksonville for fourth in the South Division after posting a 9-6-2-0 on the season. The South is the tightest division in the ECHL, with the top and bottom spots only separated by seven points. The Rays and Swamp Rabbits traded goals on Friday, and despite Andrew Cherniwchan’s second career hat trick, South Carolina couldn’t pull out a win. They did force overtime thanks to a late goal from Cherniwchan in the third, picking up one point in the contest. The squad rebounded with a shootout win on Saturday before Cherniwchan’s game-winner in overtime on Sunday. A 2-0-1 record gave the Stingrays a five-point week thanks in large part to the offensive production from Andrew Cherniwchan, Lawton Courtnall, and Justin Florek. Ryan Bednard was a star in net, posting a 2-0 record in part due to a 0.944 save percentage and 1.82 goals against average. The netminder also went a perfect two-for-two during Saturday’s shootout win.
This week the Stingrays will play a three-game set against the Idaho Steelheads in Boise, Idaho at the Idaho Central Arena. The Rays have faced off against the Steelheads only five times in the past five years with the most recent series in Boise during the spring of 2020. Idaho was three of the last four games played for the Stingrays before the pandemic shut down the season heading into playoffs. Since 2006, Idaho has owned the series 5-1 with five games taking place out west.
STINGRAYS RECORD:9-6-2-0LAST WEEK: 2-0-1-0
FRIDAY: GREENVILLE SWAMP 7, SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 6 (OT)(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)Andrew Cherninwchan highlighted the night with his second career hat trick, and first since Steve Whitney tallied three on February 23, 2020 against the Worcester Railers. Justin Florek, Alex Brink, and Lawton Courtnall added goals as the power play finished the contest 3-for-6.
SATURDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 4, GREENVILLE SWAMP RABBITS 3 (SO)(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)Justin Florek sent the teddy bears flying on the annual Teddy Bear Toss with a first period goal that banked off a defender and in for the 1-0 lead. Lawton Courtnall added two goals in the second before Greenville fought back to tie it in the third. Jordan Subban and Andrew Cherniwchan scored in the shootout while Ryan Bednard saved both Greenville shootout attempts. Bednard finished the night 30/33 and picked up the win.
SUNDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 2, GREENVILLE SWAMP RABBITS 1 (OT)
(Bon Secours Wellness Arena – Greenville, SC)
Greenville’s Frank Hora opened the scoring midway through the first period, forcing the puck past Bednard who didn’t let anything by him the rest of the contest, finishing with 38 saves in the win. Dominick Sacco sniped his second goal of the year over the right shoulder of Jacob Ingham, and in overtime, Patrick Holway fired a pass on the tape of Cherniwchan who redirected the puck past Ingham for the game-winner.
THIS WEEKWednesday, December 8 – at Idaho Steelheads, 9:10 p.m. (Idaho Central Arena)Friday, December 10 – at Idaho Steelheads, 9:10 p.m. (Idaho Central Arena)
Saturday, December 11 – at Idaho Steelheads, 9:10 p.m. (Idaho Central Arena)STINGRAYS LEADERSGoals: 8 – Andrew Cherniwchan & Justin FlorekAssists: 12 – Patrick HolwayPoints: 15 – Andrew Cherniwchan
Plus/Minus: Plus-3 – Jade MillerPenalty Minutes: 33 – Alex BrinkShots On Goal: 65 – Justin FlorekWins: 5 – Ryan BednardGoals Against Average: 1.92 – Cédrick AndréeSave Percentage: 0.947 – Cédrick Andrée
CHERNIWCHAN TIES CALDER ON STINGRAYS FRANCHISE ASSIST LEADERBOARD
Captain Andrew Cherniwchan has three helpers since returning to the lineup on November 28th and is moving up the Stingrays career leaderboard with 151 career assists now. With the most recent assists, Cherniwchan has passed Pierre-Luc O’Brien for 6th, and is now tied with Adam Calder for 5th in franchise history. Next up, the captain has his eyes set on Trent Campbell in 4th with 156 total assists as a Stingray.
AGING LIKE FINE WINE
Despite being two of the veteran players on the roster, there’s no slowing down Andrew Cherniwchan and Justin Florek. Through 17 games this year, the duo is on top of the team leaderboard with 15 and 14 points respectively and are tied for the top spot with eight goals. While Cherniwchan has missed five games, he has been on fire recently, picking up five goals and adding three assists in the past four games since returning to the lineup. At the ages of 32 (Cherniwchan) and 31 (Florek), the duo is hitting their stride, on pace for the best points per game of their illustrious careers.
LAYING ON A BED(NARD) OF SAVES
Ryan Bednard comes into the week with a 5-4 record, posting a 2.38 goals against average and a 0.925 save percentage (10th in ECHL). Bednard has seen an average of 32.44 shots per game, near the top of the league. If you remove two rough starts in back-to-back November contests, Bednard is one of the top goaltenders in the league. Over his last four starts, the 6-foot-5 netminder boasts a 0.949 save percentage and a 1.68 goals against average.
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