The comeback kids have done it again and as a reward for dispatching of the Manchester Monarchs in a thrilling Game 7 victory in New Hampshire last night, the Stingrays earned the right to face the Colorado Eagles.
Previewing South Carolina
Rob Flick leads the way offensively speaking for the Stingrays. He leads the team in goals (11), points (20), and +/- (+8). Former Hershey Bears Domenic Monardo and Zajac have 18 and 16 points respectively. Olivier Archambault and Andrew Cherniwchan both have 14 points while Joe Devin rounds out the top-6 with 11 points.
Parker Milner has played in all 18 games so far this postseason for South Carolina. He’s 12-6 with 514 saves. His GAA is 2.17 in 1135 minutes and has recorded three shutouts.
South Carolina got here by defeating Greenville 4 games to 2 in the first round, then Florida 4 games to 1 in the second round before defeating Manchester to win the Eastern Conference and the Gingher Trophy.
— ECHL (@ECHL) May 25, 2017
Previewing Colorado The Eagles are led by Alex Belzile who has 14 goals and 10 assists in just 14 games and is a team-best +10. Colorado has a total of eight skaters with ten or more points: Matt Register (6G, 14A), Jake Marto (4G, 11A), Julien Nantel (7G, 4A), Ryan Harrison (3G, 8A), Casey Pierro-Zabotel (3G, 8A), Cam Maclise (5G, 5A), and Matt Garbowsky (2G, 8A). In goal, the Eagles have turned to Lukas Hafner 12 times. He’s 10-2 with 316 saves and a GAA of 2.60 in 762 minutes played. Kent Simpson appeared in four games. He was 2-2 with a 3.02. He made 99 saves in 239 minutes of action. Colorado earned their spot in the finals by defeating Idaho 4 games to 1 in the first round, then Allen 4 games to 2 in the second round before defeating Toledo in five games to win the Western Conference and the Taylor Trophy.
— ECHL (@ECHL) May 21, 2017
Season Head-to-Head Recaps
The two teams faced off just six times this season, three in South Carolina in November and three in Colorado in March. Both times the Eagles took the first two games of the three-game series, but South Carolina emerged victorious in the third games.
November 17 – Colorado 4, South Carolina 2
Parker Milner stopped 26 of 30 shots, but it wasn’t enough as the Stingrays only managed goals from Alex Gacek (who finished the season with the Atlanta Gladiators) and Rob Flick. Gacek’s goal put South Carolina on top midway through the first, but the Eagles exploded for two goals in the second and two more in the third before Flick scored during a four-on-four with just seven seconds left in the game. The game saw the teams combine for 17 penalties and 48 penalty minutes.
November 19 – Colorado 7, South Carolina 5
Adam Carlson got the start in net and allowed five of Colorado’s seven goals as the Stingrays tried to battle back with an extra attacker late in the game. Steven McParland scored early in the first to once again give the Stingrays an early lead, but responded with five unanswered goals before South Carolina mounted a late-game comeback. First Scott Tanski scored with less than five minutes to go. Seconds later, Gacek brought the Rays to within two. With the extra attacker on the ice, Rob Flick made it a one-goal game, but back-to-back empty net goals from Colorado put the game out of reach before Steve Weinstein closed out the game’s scoring for South Carolina.
November 20 – South Carolina 5, Colorado 2
Milner returned to the net and had very little work to do, stopping 12 of the 14 shots he faced, as the Stingrays clamped down on the Eagles. John Parker put the Stingrays on top with an early goal in the first, but the Eagles tied it up before the first intermission. They would take the lead midway through the second, but unlike the first two games, South Carolina responded with four straight goals to close out the victory. Kelly Zajac scored just before the end of the second period. Flick then scored the eventual game-winner early in the third. That goal was followed by goals from Tanski and Gacek.
March 1 – Colorado 7, South Carolina 2
McParland scored a shorthanded goal to open the game and John Parker tacked on a second goal, but it was all Colorado from there. The Eagles scored one late in the first, four goals in the second, and a pair in the third en route to the most lopsided game of the series. Milner stopped 20 of 27 shots before being replaced by Steven Summerhays who stopped the lone shot he faced.
March 3 – Colorado 5, South Carolina 4
In a game that saw a combined 41 penalties and 112 penalty minutes, South Carolina once again had to try to come from behind after tallying the game’s first goal. Weinstein scored the lone goal of the first period, but Colorado promptly tied the game early in the second period while on the power play. Flick would give the Stingrays the lead again, but Colorado notched a shorthanded goal to tie the game after two periods. In the third, the Eagles scored a pair of PP goals to regain the lead. A PP goal from Tanski made it a one-goal game, but Colorado added one more before McParland scored late in the game. Milner once again was in net for South Carolina, stopping 21 of 26 shots.
March 4 – South Carolina 4, Colorado 1
Flick scored a pair of goals to lead the Stingrays to their lone victory in Colorado. He and Tanski each notched a PP goal in the first before Flick scored his second in the middle frame. Colorado ruined Milner’s shutout with a PP goal in the third, before Parker tacked on an empty-net goal with just seven seconds left in the game.
Kelly Cup Finals Schedule
Friday, May 26 @Colorado – Puck drops at 7:05
Sunday, May 28 @Colorado – Puck drops at 7:35
Sunday, June 4 @South Carolina – Puck drops at 7:05
Monday, June 5 @South Carolina – Puck drops at 7:05
Wednesday, June 7 @ South Carolina – Puck drops at 7:05 if necessary
Friday, June 9 @ Colorado – Puck drops at 7:05 if necessary
Saturday, June 10 @Colorado – Puck drops at 7:05 if necessary
By Julie Beidler
— SC Stingrays (@SCStingrays) May 25, 2017