GAME PREVIEW: SC Stingrays at Worcester Railers
The South Carolina Stingrays continue their 2022-23 campaign as they take on the Worcester Railers of the North Division for game two of three on the weekend. South Carolina improved to 4-0 outside the division this year after beating the Railers in game one on Friday night.
LAST TIME OUTThe Railers took a 1-0 lead before South Carolina netted three unanswered markers in the second period from Kevin O’Neil, Carter Turnbull, and Jonny Evans for the 3-1 lead after two periods of play. Worcester pulled back within one late in the third frame, but South Carolina held off the late push behind Clay Stevenson’s 24 saves for the win.
ALL-TIME SERIESSouth Carolina is 6-1 in seven all-time battles between the two franchises since Worcester joined the ECHL during the 2017-18 campaign. The Stingrays won the first-ever battle on February 9th, 2018 by a score of 4-1 at the DCU Center before winning both contests the following season and two more during the 2019-20 season. Last year the two teams faced off once on March 18th, 2022 in a 3-0 shutout victory for the Railers, their only win in the series. South Carolina won the first matchup of this year on Friday night in a 3-2 victory.
THE STINGRAYS ARE HOWLINGSouth Carolina got back on track on Friday night, finding their way onto the winning side of the final score. The Stingrays’ trio of UConn products provided all the scoring necessary and have been having spectacular rookie campaigns. Carter Turnbull leads the way with a team-high 42 points and a league-high 24 goals scored. Kevin O’Neil is tied for fourth on the team with 28 points on 14 goals and 14 assists, earning a trio of call-ups to the AHL as well. O’Neil is tied with Jonny Evans who is second on the team with 20 assists to go along with eight markers.
COVER TWO DEFENSEThe Worcester Railers are a run-and-gun team with a Hail Mary or bust mentality. They don’t have a lot of time with puck possession, but when they connect on their stretch passes, they provide themselves A-plus opportunities to score. The Stingrays need to be aware and always expect to have a man keeping an eye on the early breakout player. South Carolina can use the increased amount of icings to their advantage and reward themselves by winning more offensive faceoffs.
WINNING FIVE-ON-FIVESouth Carolina finished Friday’s contest 1-for-2 on the power play, increasing their league-best power play to 26.2% this season. Last night was only the fifth time this season the Stingrays were held to two or fewer power plays and the first since December 28th. Worcester is the most disciplined team in the league, averaging 8.98 penalty minutes per game and a league-low three penalty kills a game. The Stingrays shouldn’t expect many chances on the man advantage tonight, making it more important than ever to win the game at even strength.
Upcoming 5-Game Schedule.South Carolina at Worcester – Sunday, February 5 at 3:05 p.m.South Carolina at Savannah – Thursday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m.Greenville at South Carolina – Friday, February 10 at 7:05 p.m.South Carolina at Savannah – Saturday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m.South Carolina at Atlanta – Tuesday, February 14 at 7:00 p.m.
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