It’s always good to peak at the right time and, for the South Carolina Stingrays, it appears as though they are doing just that. From fighting for a playoff berth near the end of March to becoming the first team into the Conference Finals for the 2017 Kelly Cup, it’s safe to say the Rays are playing some of their best hockey right now.
The Rays are no stranger to the Eastern Conference Finals – this is the third straight year they have advanced. While they don’t know who they are playing yet (the Manchester Monarchs lead the Brampton Beast 3-2 in the North Division), reaching the Conference Finals in three consecutive years is definitely a rarity. The only other team to achieve this feat was the 2008-2010 Cincinnati Cyclones.
The Rays, after stumbling out of the gate against the SwampRabbits, have dropped just one game in their last nine and are 8-3 so far in the post-season. They won two games against Florida in double overtime in the second round (Games 1 and 3). The only game of the series they dropped was Game 2 in Florida.
Rob Flick (7 goals and 6 assists) and Domenic Monardo (5 goals and 8 assists) are currently leading the way with 13 points for the Stingrays. In all, 16 skaters have tallied at least a point through 11 games.
Meanwhile, Parker Milner has been more than solid in net for the Stingrays. Currently he ranks second (first among goalies still active in the playoffs) in GAA with 1.83 in 11 games. He’s allowed just 22 goals on 323 shots.
While they don’t yet know who their opponent will be in the Eastern Conference Finals, they are hoping to avenge last season’s loss in Frozen Four to the Wheeling Nailers and return to the Kelly Cup Finals. They also lost a heartbreaker in 2015 in the Finals to Allen 4 games to 3.
— SC Stingrays (@SCStingrays) May 5, 2017
South Carolina has won the Kelly Cup three times. The most recent was 2008-2009 when they were affiliated with Capitals. That same year, Hershey, the AHL affiliate, also won the Calder Cup. South Carolina’s other two titles came in 1996-1997 and 2000-2001. The Rays entered the ECHL in 1993 as an expansion team.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) April 29, 2017