NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The South Carolina Stingrays (9-3-3-0) earned their first regulation win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (6-4-5-2) of the season by a score of 2-0 on Wednesday at the North Charleston Coliseum. Jake Kupsky earned his first ECHL shutout stopping 23 shots. Tim Harrison and Jesse Lees scored their first goals of the season to keep the Swamp Rabbits on their heels and seal the victory.
The first two periods were evenly played. Both teams had opportunities and failed to capitalize on them. Both Kupsky and Greenville goalie Ryan Bednar made brilliant saves that kept the game deadlocked into the 3rd period. The team defense for both clubs was stout but the Stingrays really tightened things up in the second frame only allowing four shots on goal. Greenville had plenty of chances all night. They rang the post at least 4 times and missed two wide-open nets. The Stingrays defense bent several times but they managed to keep the puck out of the net during several mad scrambles around the crease.
Harrison finally broke through the Greenville defense at 6:35 of the 3rd period putting a bouncing puck into the net off of a feed from Jade Miller and Tariq Hammond. Greenville responded with hard pressure but could not solve Kupsky over the next several minutes. Then Lees went the length of the ice on a highlight-reel goal at 11:42. The unassisted goal saw Lees beat three defenders to the net before he snapped a wrister past Bednar.
— SC Stingrays (@SCStingrays) February 4, 2021
Overall, the Stingrays had a solid game. Greenville had more quality scoring chances and missed opportunities. The puck was definitely bouncing South Carolina’s way on Wednesday. The defense played well with the return of Lees, Hammond, and Jordan Klimek to the lineup. Offensively, the team had opportunities and had several quality chances that just didn’t connect. Several plays featured stellar passing that the recipient wasn’t anticipating or ready for. With the shuffled lines due to COVID protocols, AHL call-ups, and new faces over the past few weeks the chemistry isn’t quite there yet. Once players are settled into their roles, the offensive talent and firepower in the forward corps should be near the top of the league in production.
Travis Rogers covers the South Carolina Stingrays for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him at @SinBinStingrays.