GREENVILLE, SC – When the Kelly Cup series between the South Carolina Stingrays and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits first started, the ‘Rays looked less than spectacular. Their defense had failed them, their goaltending seemed shaky and for whatever reason, pucks weren’t hitting the back of the net. Fans were left to endure two games of the Stingrays getting pummeled before they could finally go back to North Charleston, strapped for a win.
Then, something flipped within the ‘Rays. They now had home ice advantage and all of the luck seemed to flock to them. In game three of the series, Rob Flick and the Stingrays shut out the Swamp Rabbits in a 6-0 win to take the team’s first win of the playoffs. The following night, Kelly Zajac led the ‘Rays over the ‘Rabbits with another 6 goal win.
The Stingrays seemed to be back to their winning ways, but with their second straight win, it was time to head back to Greenville for game five. There was a big cloud that was looming overhead and it begged the question: Could the Stingrays win on ice that wasn’t their own?
Game five was held in Greenville, Friday night. Six minutes into the game, Greenville’s Matt Prapavessis scored, leading the ‘Rays hopeful to fear that the boys from the Low Country were going to drop the pivotal game five. They went into the second period scoreless.
Then, suddenly the ‘Rays began to score, and they didn’t stop. They led the second period with three unanswered goals, which gave them the boost of confidence that they so desperately needed.
The third period saw one goal from each team but in the end, the ‘Rays came out on top with a 4-2 win. Goaltender Parker Milner has shined in the last three games, allowing three goals in that stretch (an average of 1.00 goals per game,) while the Stingrays have scored 16 goals in the same span.
The Stingrays now have the chance to move on to the second round of the playoffs with a win on Monday back on home ice.
Keep an eye on Joe Devin, Kelly Zajac, and Rob Flick. The three of them bounce off each other and work very well together. Especially keep an eye on Zajac, though. He’s been a very solid and consistent player for South Carolina. He tends to move the puck in the smartest of ways and always ends up right where he needs to be. He had been a very important part of the team during the regular season, even wearing an ‘A’ while Captain Joe Devin was in the AHL, and now he’s acting as a key member of the squad so far in the playoffs with six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in five games.
The Stingrays are back at it in Charleston on Monday for game six. Puck drops at 7:05.