CHARLESTON, SC – The South Carolina Stingrays will meet an old friend when Adirondack comes to town tonight. Former player and coach Cail MacLean is in his first season as head coach of the Thunder going 38-28-2-4. MacLean coached current Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery during the 2009-2010 season and then Carbery would serve as assistant to MacLean the following season. Both coaches come in to the series having led their teams to 4-1 series victories in round 1.
Game Schedule (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and All Times Local):
Game 1 – Friday, April 29 at 7:05 p.m. Adirondack at SOUTH CAROLINA
Game 2 – Saturday, April 30 at 7:05 p.m. Adirondack at SOUTH CAROLINA
Game 3 – Tuesday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. South Carolina at ADIRONDACK
Game 4 –Thursday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m. South Carolina at ADIRONDACK
*Game 5 –Saturday, May 7 at 7:00 p.m. South Carolina at ADIRONDACK
*Game 6 – Tuesday, May 10 at 7:05 p.m. Adirondack at SOUTH CAROLINA
*Game 7 – Wednesday, May 11 at 7:05 p.m. Adirondack at SOUTH CAROLINA
* => If Necessary
Season Series: Adirondack and South Carolina saw each other three times during the regular season. Adirondack took the series going 2-1 (1-1 at home and 1-0 on the road). Current Thunder goalie Ken Appleby made one start stopping 22 of 24 shots in a 4-2 win at home on January 9th. The two teams last faced on March 5th in South Carolina, a 3-2 Overtime win for the Thunder.
How South Carolina Wins: In round one, the Stingrays showed the ability to completely take over games. The forecheck forced Kalamzoo in to turning the puck over and allowed South Carolina to maintain puck possession for seemingly entire periods at times. It will be much more difficult to do that against the Thunder so the Stingrays will have to rely on their depth.
Coach Carbery points to their depth as a reason South Carolina is so dangerous. “All three of our lines can produce offensively and our back end can chip in as well. Any one line can carry us on any different night,” he said.
In the first round, 16 of the 17 players that skated in a game for the Stingrays registered at least one point. Even goalie Mark Dekanich contributed an assist.
“Its hard to (match lines) when you have that type of balance.” Check out Coach Carbery’s full comments on the series here.
South Carolina made goalie Joel Martin work hard and wore him down until he cracked in Game 5. They’ll have to do the same against another tough goalie in Appleby. Joe Devin leads the Stingrays with five goals and two assists.
Goalies: Mark Dekanich 2-1 2.35 Goals Against Average .894 Save Percentage
Vitek Vanecek 2-0 1.50 Goals Against Average .943 Save Percentage
How Adirondack Wins: Adirondack might not be as deep as South Carolina is, but looking down the lineup there are a weapons at forward and defense. Where the Stingrays have one player with seven points so far, Adirondack has three. Forwards Greg Wolfe, Mitchell Heard and Peter MacArthur lead the way for the Thunder. The blueliners have shown they can produce as well with Ryan Constant with 5 points including a three-point night in game 5 against Manchester. It would not be surprising to see another defenseman, Mathieu Brodeur, find his offensive game in this series after scoring 30 points in the regular season.
The key for Adirondack is keeping the puck out of their net something that they’ve done well as year. The Thunder finished the regular season fourth best in the conference in goals against with 189 goals allowed. Thanks to Appleby’s stellar play, Adirondack would finish the first round with the fewest goals allowed in the conference with nine. South Carolina finished second with 11. He played all five games and was 4-1 with a 1.75 GAA and .942 SV %. With the Stingrays averaging four goals a game in the first round it will be no small task for Appleby and the defense. The penalty killing unit could go a long way in helping slow the Stingrays down. Adirondack allowed just two goals on 23 times shorthanded against Manchester.
This will be a tight series between teams that are strong on both ends of the ice. It will be interesting to see how old coaching friends handle their respective teams. The road only gets tougher.
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