GAME PREVIEW: SC Stingrays at Florida Everblades
The South Carolina Stingrays continue their 2022-23 campaign as they head to Estero, FL for the first of three games this week against the top-seeded Florida Everblades. The Stingrays are looking for a hot start tonight over the divisional rival after falling in both contests a couple of weeks ago.
LAST TIME OUTAfter tying the game at one goal apiece from Jonny Evans’ third goal in the last three games, Jacksonville netted four unanswered goals to close out the opening period. Bear Hughes netted his 16th of the season and Ryan Scarfo scored a pair of power play goals in the third to inch the Stingrays within one goal midway through the third period. That was the closest they would come as South Carolina fell by a final score of 5-4.
ALL-TIME SERIESThe two teams have faced off a total of 225 times since the Everblades' inaugural season (1998-1999) and are at a near deadlock. The Stingrays are 99-102-25 against the reigning Kelly Cup Champions after going 1-5-2 during last year’s rebuild. The Everblades won the first matchup two matchups at the North Charleston Coliseum a week and a half ago by a pair of goals each game.
SCARFO’S STELLAR SEASONForward Ryan Scarfo netted a pair of goals in the 5-4 loss to Jacksonville coming off a deflection and a slapshot from close quarters for only the second multi-goal game of his career. The native of Massachusetts is in his fifth season of professional hockey and first within the Stingrays organization. After signing an AHL deal with the Hershey Bears this past summer, he was assigned to South Carolina prior to the year beginning. Scarfo is on pace for his best season to date, recording 14 points on six goals and eight assists in 30 games played.
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEADThe Stingrays and the Everblades are two of the more successful teams when gaining a lead early in the contest. The Stingrays are 20-3-2-1 when leading or tied after the first period and 21-1-2-2 when leading or tied after two periods of play. Florida is just as good, never losing in regulation when they hold a lead after the first or second periods. In a contest against two solid defensives, it’s more crucial than ever to get out to an early lead and hold on behind great goaltending and shot blocking.
THE BIG SIXWith six big points on the line this week, the Stingrays and Everblades have a chance to make waves in the South Division. As the top two teams in the league, only separated by one point, they are trying to pull apart from the trio of teams tied for third place with 47 points apiece. The Stingrays need a pair of wins to keep pace with Florida when all is said and done following the weekend. Florida can pull away from the pack with a clean sweep of the week.
Upcoming 5-Game Schedule.South Carolina at Florida – Friday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m.South Carolina at Florida – Saturday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m.South Carolina at Worcester – Friday, February 3 at 7:05 p.m.South Carolina at Worcester – Saturday, February 4 at 7:05 p.m.South Carolina at Worcester – Sunday, February 5 at 3:05 p.m.
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