Don’t look now, but the hottest team in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference is the South Carolina Stingrays.
Titans vs. Stingrays
Trenton Titans at South Carolina StingraysWhen: Tonight, 7:05 p.m.Where: North Charleston ColiseumTickets: 744-2248.
Damon Kipp scored the game winner with 3:10 left in overtime to lead South Carolina past Trenton, 3-2, on Friday night before a crowd of 2,645 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Stingrays, winners of four straight, improved to 11-12-2 (24 points) and are just one win shy of reaching the .500 mark. The Titans fell to 8-10-2 (18 points).
After a dismal start to the season, the Stingrays have finally appeared to find their stride. Going into last weekend, the Stingrays had not won back-to-back games all season.
It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Stingrays are finding ways to win games they had been losing just a few weeks ago.
“We’re still learning how to win games in this league,” Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery said. “That might sound a little strange to say, but each team has to figure it out on their own, and we’ve been figuring it out here lately. It was a pretty sloppy effort, but there’s no doubt we’ll take the result.”
The Stingrays managed just 17 shots.
“I’m not going to get caught up with the number of shots we’re getting,” Carbery said. “We like to possess the puck and we’re not the kind of team that’s going to chuck pucks on net. I would definitely like to see more shots, especially from the point where we had some issues tonight, but I bet when we look at the video we’ll see we had just as many or more scoring opportunities as Trenton.”
Stingrays’ goalie Ryan Zapolski was solid again, stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced. Zapolski improved to 8-4-0 on the season.
“Ryan continues to give us a chance to win every time he’s in the net,” Carbery said.
After a power-play goal from Trenton’s Ian Slater, the Stingrays answered less than two minutes later on a beautiful passing play from Hunter Bishop and Daniel Koger on Tyler McNeely’s goal to tie the score, 1-1.
Koger’s power play gave the Stingrays a 2-1 lead midway through the second period.
The Titans forced the game into overtime on Andy Bohmbach’s re-direction with 7:38 left in the third period.
Kipp got the game winner when Tyler Johnson found a loose puck behind the net, saw the former New Hampshire star come storming in from the blue line and slid the puck out in front of the net. Kipp’s one timer beat Trenton goalie Scott Wedgewood for the goal.
“We gave a late one up to force the game into overtime, so it was nice to come away with the two points,” said Kipp, who recorded his second goal of the season.
“I had a step on my guy when I came and Tyler made a great pass. Right on my tape.”
Celebrate Teddy Bear Toss Night benefiting Debi’s Kids today at 7:05 p.m. as the Stingrays and Titans battle again. Bring new or gently used stuffed animals to the game and throw them on the ice when the Stingrays score their first goal. All stuffed animals will be donated to Debi’s Kids.
The Stingrays signed defenseman Tommy Fitzpatrick on Friday. In keeping with club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Fitzpatrick, 25, appeared in 11 games with the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League this season, scoring one goal. Earlier this season, the Fort McMurray, Alberta, native skated in two preseason games with the Stingrays.
Currently in his first professional campaign, Fitzpatrick attended Marian College for three seasons, grabbing 13 goals and 62 assists for 75 points in 77 games.
Trenton 1 0 1 0—2
South Carolina 1 1 0 1—3
First Period: 1. T, Slater 3 (Drewiske, Noebels), 3:03 (PP). 2. SC, McNeely 7 (Bishop, Koger), 4:47. Penalties: Langkow, SC (hooking), 1:56; Beauregard, SC (elbowing), 7:43; Vidmar, SC (high-sticking), 19:43.
Second Period: 3. SC, Koger 5 (Langkow), 12:35 (PP). Penalties: Drewiske, T (hooking), 10:00; Slater, T (hooking), 12:35; Courtnall, SC (interference), 13:20.
Third Period: 4. T, Bohmbach 10 (Grimshaw, Mangene), 12:22. Penalties: Grimshaw T (tripping), 1:22. Overtime Period: 5. SC, Kipp 2 (Johnson, Koger), 1:50. Penalties: No Penalties Shots on Goal: Stingrays 6-4-6-1-17; Trenton: 9-8-12-2-31. Penalties: Stingrays 4-8; Trenton 3-6. Power Play: Stingrays 1 for 3; Trenton 1 for 4. Goalies: Stingrays – Ryan Zapolski (8-4-0) 34 shots, 34 saves. Trenton – Scott Wedgewood (6-7-0) 17 shots, 14 saves. Att: 2,661.