NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The South Carolina Stingrays enter Monday in last place in the South Division after winning their first three-game series since December. The team hosted the Trois-Rivières Lions for the first time in franchise history during the Lions inaugural season in the ECHL. The Stingrays sandwiched the Lions with wins on Friday and Sunday on the back of a few newcomers. Jonny Evans and Kevin O’Neil appeared in their pro debuts this weekend, combining for four goals and three assists. Hunter Shepard continued his dominance, winning both games and posting his second shutout in the last two weeks.
This week, the Stingrays have three games ahead beginning on Wednesday in Greenville where the team will take on the Swamp Rabbits for the final time this season. The two squads are in a dead heat in the season series, with both teams sitting at a 7-5-2 record against one another. The Rays will split a pair of games against the Orlando Solar Bears Friday and Saturday in a home-and-home. Orlando currently holds the final playoff spot in the South Division with four points over the Swamp Rabbits.
STINGRAYS RECORD:22-36-6-0LAST WEEK:2-1-0-0
FRIDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 3, TROIS-RIVIÈRES LIONS 0(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)
For the second time in the last two weeks, Hunter Shepard exited the North Charleston Coliseum with a shutout. Shepard stopped 32 shots and led the South Carolina Stingrays over the Trois-Rivières Lions by a final score of 3-0 on Friday night. Jonny Evans shined in his pro debut with a three-point performance (1G/2A) while Tariq Hammond and Justin Florek added a tally of their own.
SATURDAY: TROIS-RIVIÈRES LIONS 5, SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 2(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)
The Trois-Rivières Lions used three goals in the third period to beat out the South Carolina Stingrays by a final score of 5-2 on Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. Alex Brink led the way for South Carolina, tallying the first goal of the net and adding an assist on Justin Florek’s mark at the end of the second period.
SUNDAY: SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS 5, TROIS-RIVIÈRES LIONS 4(North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, SC)
Justin Florek’s third mark of the weekend gave the Stingrays their first three-game series win in nearly four months. In a back-and-forth game, the Rays had goals from Jonny Evans and Derek Gentile while Kevin O’Neil tallied his first two professional goals in his debut weekend.
THIS WEEKWednesday, March 30: at Greenville Swamp Rabbits, 7:05 p.m. (Bon Secours Wellness Arena)Friday, April 1: vs. Orlando Solar Bears, 7:05 p.m. (North Charleston Coliseum)Saturday, April 2: at Orlando Solar Bears, 7:00 p.m. (Amway Center)
STINGRAYS LEADERSGoals: 19 – Justin Florek Assists: 22 – Andrew Cherniwchan & Justin FlorekPoints: 41 – Justin FlorekPlus/Minus: Plus-2 – Karl BoudriasPenalty Minutes: 77 – Alex BrinkShots On Goal: 213 – Justin FlorekWins: 13 – Ryan BednardGoals Against Average: 2.81 – Hunter ShepardSave Percentage: 0.919 – Hunter Shepard
SHEPARD STAYS HOTHunter Shepard has been on fire in net for South Carolina over the last two weeks despite his 3-2 record. Over five starts, the Stingrays netminder posted two shutouts on March 16 against Greenville, saving 30 shots before a 32-save performance on Friday. Over this stretch, Shepard has saved 94.6% of shots seen and has given up an average of 1.96 goals per game.
THESE HUSKIES CAN PLAY!Players that debuted professionally with South Carolina have had a field day this year, and the newest University of Connecticut Huskies products are no different. Jonny Evans kicked things off in his ECHL debut on Friday, tallying two assists before scoring his first professional goal. His debut weekend continued with another goal and assist in Sunday’s victory. Kevin O’Neil was signed a day later and made an impact in his second game on Sunday, scoring his first two professional goals in the contest.
SEVEN YEARS A TEAMMATEOn Thursday, the Stingrays signed forwards Jonny Evans and Carter Turnbull out of the University of Connecticut, but it’s not the first time they’ve spent a season together. The pairing have been teammates for each of the last seven seasons dating back to their time in the BCHL with the Powell River Kings in the 2014-15 campaign. Following three years together with Powell, the tandem both joined the UConn Huskies, and signed with the Stingrays on the same exact day. Evans is a 2020-21 All-American and Turnbull was the 2021-22 Huskies Captain.
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