Catch the Rays
Gwinnett Gladiators at South Carolina Stingrays
When: Friday and Saturday (games start at 7:05 p.m.)
Where: North Charleston Coliseum
Records: Gladiators 1-4-0 (2 points); Rays 4-0-1 (9 points)
South Carolina Stingrays centerman Scott Campbell has always had a reputation as a reliable two-way player.
Campbell is a throwback to a bygone era when centermen took as much pride in their defense as they did in their offensive statistics. He’s a tireless defensive forward that hates to give up a goal when he’s on the ice.
But this season, at least through the first five games, Campbell has shown an offensive touch that has been absent earlier in his professional career.
In five games with the Stingrays, Campbell has five goals and two assists. He’s tied for third in the ECHL in goals and sixth in points.
“Scott just hates to get scored on, just hates it,” said Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery. “There are not many players like him at this level. He’s kind of a dying bread. He takes as much pride in his defense as he does in the offense zone. There are just not many players around that have that kind of mentality.”
Campbell has played the last two seasons in the ECHL with the Las Vegas Wranglers. His best season statistically came during his rookie campaign when he had 31 points, 15 goals and 16 assist in 51 games. In 75 career ECHL games prior to this season, Campbell has 19 goals.
He’s on pace to score 72 goals this year.
“He’s showing an offensive side of his game that he’s never shown before,” Carbery said. “He’s been a very reliable centerman during his career. He had been productive, but nothing like this season so far. Even when he was in Las Vegas he wasn’t putting up the kind of numbers he’s put up so far. He wasn’t a point-a-game guy.”
And he certainly wasn’t a goal-a-game player. Campbell doesn’t expect to score a goal every game, but playing on the same line with American Hockey League veteran Jordan Owens and Igor Gongalsky has made his job that much easier this season.
“Both of those guys are experienced guys and do a great job on the forecheck,” Campbell said. “Igor is one of the strongest players on the team and his work along the walls is second to none. Jordan creates so much. He has great feet and his vision on the ice is fantastic.”
Campbell’s two goals last Friday night in the final minute, including the game-winner with five seconds left in regulation against Greenville, gave the Stingrays a rare win at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
“Scott’s hockey IQ is off the charts,” Carbery said. “He didn’t do anything spectacular up in Greenville. He didn’t dangle a couple of guys and then go top-shelf to beat the goalie. He just knew where he needed to be to score.”
Campbell has split the last two seasons between Las Vegas and the three teams in the AHL — Rochester, Texas and Bridgeport. His longest stint in the AHL came last year when he appeared in 48 games with the Sound Tigers, recording seven goals and 11 assists.
Campbell signed with Providence over the summer, but the Bruins were loaded at the forward position and the Navan, Ont., native was sent to South Carolina just before the start of training camp.
“I’m not going to dwell on where I am,” Campbell said. “I love coming to the rink and playing here. We’ve got a great group of guys.
“You’ve got to make the most of your opportunities. You can’t hang your hat on what-ifs. Right now my mindset is on being here, and I’m going to do everything I can to be the best player I can be here and help this team win. Whatever happens down the road, happens, I can’t worry about it.”